If I were in the synagogue that day, where would I stand? What would be my reaction to Jesus? It certainly sounds like I would also be astonished. But would that lead to the skepticism of knowing he is just one of us and therefore cannot be so special. Would my skepticism drag him down and impede his ability to cure and do mighty deeds. Whose potential do I negatively impact today because of my skepticism and jealousy?

Unfortunately, it is not hard for me to question and judge who others are and what they do at times. How often have I seen another person doing good and judged his/her motives to be bad? How often have I said to myself, “that is not as special as people seem to think it is?” How often have I felt, if only I had the same advantages I could be doing such wonderful things as well? Such skepticism and jealousy just suck life out of me and the people around me. It is very helpful for me to remember that these people I question and judge are loved children of God no less than I am, perhaps even more.

Fortunately, it is hard for me to imagine how I might react to Jesus because God has given and sustained in me the gift of faith through so many good people in my life. This long line of people starts with my own parents and godparents who spoke for me, a cradle Catholic, at baptism. It continues with brothers and sisters, friends, children, even grandchildren and many Jesuits who continue to inspire faith in me. I must pray more often in thanksgiving for all these people. Maybe I could even be such a person for those whom I question and judge.

—David McNulty is the Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits