Saturday, February 02, 2019
4th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
February 3, 2019 - 4th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Jer 1: 4 - 5, 17 – 19 / 1 Cor 12: 31 – 13:13 / Lk 4: 21 – 30
From the 1st Reading: Jer 1: 4 – 5
A word of Yahweh came to me, "Even before I formed you in the womb I have known you; even before you were born I had set you apart, and appointed you a prophet to the nations!"
Gospel Reading: Lk 4: 21 – 30
Then Jesus said to them, "Today these prophetic words come true, even as you listen." All agreed with him, and were lost in wonder, while he spoke of the grace of God. Nevertheless they asked, "Who is this but Joseph's son?" So he said, "Doubtless you will quote me the saying: Doctor, heal yourself! Do here in your town what they say you did in Capernaum."
Jesus added, "No prophet is honored in his own country. Truly, I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens withheld rain for three years and six months and a great famine came over the whole land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow of Zarephath, in the country of Sidon.. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha, the prophet, and no one was healed except Naaman, the Syrian."
On hearing these words, the whole assembly became indignant. They rose up and brought him out of the town, to the edge of the hill on which Nazareth is built, intending to throw him down the cliff. But he passed through their midst and went his way.
Jesus, known to be the son of Joseph the carpenter, must have been a bit of a mystery to those of his audience of today's Gospel account of his preaching in the local synagogue. For some, he did have the reputation of a miracle-worker of sorts. In Capernaum there were some extraordinary things he did which the people knew about, but at the same time there was disappointment because he didn't seem to do anything extraordinary for his own town-mates.
At first, according to today's Gospel reading, his message seemed to be received favorably. But then doubts crept in. If he could do that in other places – and indeed there were reports of some such happenings – why don't we who are his local neighbors see him doing such things here among us?
Perhaps the problem for the people was what we might call a spiritual "colonial mentality." Perhaps they were so conditioned in their hearts that they would be impressed only by an "imported" someone who is world- famous. But this Jesus is a local: he is the son of their carpenter Joseph.
When Jesus tried to soften their hearts and open their minds by recalling to them events that we can find in the Old Testament scriptures, the people were even more indignant. And in their rage they expelled their own townmate not realizing that the person they were expelling was actually greater than all the famous heroes of the past.
The message and the challenge for all of us is often one of false expectations. And what our gospel narrative today recounts is something that plagued Jesus all his life, and it can plague our world today. The amazing truth is that the greatness of the Lord can come to us in the most humble and ordinary ways.
The same Spirit that anointed Jesus can be present and active in the least of our sisters and brothers. The great St. Benedict wrote in his rule that attention should be given to the ideas and opinions of the very least of the community members. The "lowest" of the brothers should be as much respected as the most senior.
Today's Gospel reading is not just an account of what happened in that synagogue where Jesus was preaching in his time. Rather, it speaks to all our hearts and minds today. It suggests that we try to free ourselves of any "spiritual colonial mentality" so that we can be open to find God speaking to us in the most unexpected and humble ways.
FINALLY, WE PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER, FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ASKED OUR PRAYERS AND FOR THOSE WHO NEED OUR PRAYERS THE MOST.
Have a good day!
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