“'Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?' And they took offense at him." Mt 13: 54-55
When we don't like or are holding a resentment against someone, we can find any number of spurious reasons to undermine their reputation or good name, and although we might be subtle in our criticism, anyone listening can sense our dislike and hostility. As Jesus began to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, his listeners, especially those who had something to lose if Jesus became too powerful, attacked him where they though he was most vulnerable, his simple and poor background and family.
St Alphonsus Liguori, born into wealth and power, having earned a doctorate in law by the age of sixteen, was well on his way to fame and fortune when God broke into his life. In a vision, Alphonsus knew God wanted him to dedicate himself to a simple life and seek ordination as a priest. Opposed by his family, Alphonsus agreed to live at home and travel throughout Naples to preach missions, but after a while God's call demanded more of him.
Despite the ongoing resistance of his family, Alphonsus formed a new congregation which stumbled along for a while but the saint was not to be denied. Knowing God wanted him to move forward, he founded communities of men and women, and the congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) continues to offer us a powerful example of what can happen when we abandon ourselves to God's will.
Today, ask God to speak clearly to you about your own vocation.
Do you experience opposition from family and friends to your vocation?