Reading Reflections Fourth Sunday of the Year Gospel C

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Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.

·        We continue from the passage we heard in last Sunday’s Gospel Reading. Jesus is in Nazareth. He went to the Synagogue as was his custom. They asked him to proclaim and interpret the Word of God. He probably asked for Isaiah’s writings. He found the passage that affirmed what happened to him at the time of his baptism: the Father affirming him and anointing him with a fresh outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for his ministry.

·        His interpretation was simple: Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing. In other words, I am the one whom Isaiah is prophesizing about.

·        Their first reaction was amazement. But this did not last long.


They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”

·        He is a home town celebrity. They knew who he was. They were not ready to accept that he was anything but the son of Joseph.

 
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”

·        They had heard that he had already cured a few people. So they were expecting him to do the same for them.

·        They knew he was a teacher and healer. What they didn’t expect is the next thing Jesus would say.

 And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

·        Now Jesus tells them his is also a prophet like Elijah and Elisha.

·        Like them, he would not be accepted nor could he perform many miracles for them, because of their lack of faith.

 When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.

·        From astonishment to questioning, to disbelieve, to anger and rejection, they quickly moved.  His words were too much for him, because their hearts were hardened. They were satisfied accepting Jesus as a home town celebrity, but not to be challenge by him to open their hearts to the way of the Lord.

·        How open are we to the full message of Jesus? Do we sometimes want to qualify it or interpret it to fit our preferences?

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