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  • Nico Quintos

Updated: 5 days ago

You have likely heard the saying, "Familiarity breeds contempt." This phrase means that the better we know or become more familiar with someone or something, the more likely we find their faults and ordinariness, often leading to dislike or a lack of respect or appreciation.


In today's gospel reading, we see an example of familiarity breeding contempt. Jesus returned to His hometown, and the people who had known Him since childhood could not accept the ordinariness of His presence. They knew His family well: His mother, Mary, and relatives. They saw Him grow up as a carpenter's son. Despite the wisdom and miracles He displayed, their familiarity with His ordinary upbringing bred contempt. They could not reconcile the divine grace in the man they had seen grow up among them.


Sometimes, we also find it hard to see the grace of God right under our noses. In the ordinariness of life, in the moments of misunderstanding and hurt, in the acts of care and compassion, the grace of God and the love of God are active and alive. Yet, we might miss these divine manifestations because they come to us in familiar and ordinary forms.


When the people of Nazareth allowed their familiarity with Jesus to breed contempt, they missed out on a great opportunity. Jesus, as a result, chose to take His message and blessings elsewhere because of their lack of faith. A similar tragedy can happen to us if we let our familiarity with the divine in our everyday lives lead to contempt and disregard. We risk losing the blessings that God offers us.


The secret is to pay close attention to Jesus's words. By immersing ourselves in Scripture and staying grounded in the sacraments and prayer, our familiarity with Christ's teachings will lead to greater blessings and deeper faith rather than contempt.

Prayer, in particular, helps us stay attuned to God's presence in the ordinary moments of our lives. NQ

  • Nico Quintos

The Bushmen tribe, the oldest inhabitants of South Africa, have a deep reverence for the wind. For the Bushmen, the wind is the source of their life. They feel they are living within it and believe in its transformative power. 

They observed that strong winds can wear down rocks and shape landscapes and desert dunes. They noticed that many plants rely on the wind to disperse their seeds to grow and thrive in new areas. They observed how strong winds can uproot trees and clear away dead or decaying matter, making room for new growth. The Bushman Tribe relies on the wind to blow away their footprints upon their death, symbolizing a fresh start and a return to the great wind from which they came. 

On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples like a strong driving wind, breathing new life into their weary souls. Before Pentecost, the disciples were gripped by fear, their hearts heavy with confusion and doubt. But the Holy Spirit, like a powerful gust, swept away their fears and doubts, replacing them with a burning courage and a deep conviction to spread the Gospel. 

In the Gospel, Jesus appears to His disciples after His resurrection and says:

"Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Then he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

Like the wind, Jesus' breath, the breath of God, the Holy Spirit is invisible yet undeniably felt and present. The Holy Spirit is life-giving, forgiving, and transforming!

The Bushmen Tribe always feels as if they live within the wind. 

How about us? Are we truly living by the Holy Spirit? Do we allow the mighty wind of God to blow through our lives, clearing away our fears, doubts, and selfishness? 

Just as the wind blew away the footprints of the Bushmen, the Holy Spirit can remove traces of sin and despair from our lives, leading us to a transformed, renewed life in Christ. The Holy Spirit heals broken relationships, brings peace in times of turmoil, and gives us the strength to overcome our weaknesses. The Holy Spirit inspires us to love more deeply, to forgive more readily, and to serve others selflessly.

Do we want to know if we are living by the Spirit? How do we know we are breathing the Holy Spirit in?

Saint Paul says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Do we bear these fruits in our lives? Are these qualities what we breathe out to the world around us? 

If the answer is yes, then we live by the Spirit! If the answer is no, we pray: Come, Holy Spirit, breathe on us! Come, fill our hearts!

  • Nico Quintos

D-Day, June 6, 1944, will forever be remembered as the day when the most daring deed for freedom was performed.

208 paratroopers and 11 officers jumped to spearhead the liberation of Europe. These men understood that many of them would die either in the air or upon their landing on the enemy field. They went ahead with faith in their cause, not wanting to die but willing to die for freedom.

Only 69 of the enlisted men and 4 officers survived.

These paratroopers demonstrated in action the meaning of Jesus' words: "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." 

These words on sacrificial, self-emptying love are not just a call to action but a foreshadowing of Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Jesus does not just command us to love; He shows us how.

Jesus does not ask for simple affection or a conditional willingness to do good only when it suits us. He calls for total love, which involves laying down our lives. 

Laying down one's life in love may sometimes involve actual death. Think of the martyrs throughout history: Saint Peter and Paul, Saint Sebastian, and Joan of Arc. While few of us may be called to martyrdom, laying down one's life in love more often means smaller laying downs of our selfishness for the good of someone else. 

Each day is an opportunity to practice this laying down of life in our families, workplaces, and communities. It might mean sacrificing our time, our comfort, or our preferences for the good of another. It might mean being patient with those who frustrate us, especially when we are not in the mood, forgiving those who hurt us, and extending kindness to those who are difficult to love. It might mean giving up some screen time to call up someone who looks forward to hearing from us, going out of our way to visit the elderly or someone who is sick, or taking the time to write a note of sympathy to someone grieving. 

Yes, laying down one's life in love may sometimes mean real death. Jesus laid down his life on the cross to free us from sin and death, and on D-day, the paratroopers laid down their lives to free Europe. But ordinarily, laying down our lives in love comes in countless small ways in which we put the needs and well-being of others before our own, all in the name of Jesus, who taught us to love one another. NQ

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