In today’s gospel passage, we learn that Jesus was not accepted in His hometown, Nazareth. He returned to Nazareth after being away for several months of preaching and healing in Capernaum. The people in His hometown knew him as Jesus, the carpenter’s son.
On that Sabbath Day, He was invited to read from the sacred scrolls.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn.” (Is 61:1-5).
This commences the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy, a time when the fulfilment of hopes and dreams – a time when all debts are cancelled and prisoners are no longer prisoners, a time to set the down-troddened free. Jesus was proclaiming himself as the One who would bring this Good News to all mankind
Jesus has done wonderful things in Capernaum, and the hometown folk expected him to do at least as much for them. The definition of “Physician, heal yourself” (Luke 4:23-24) is to mean, “if you were able to heal the undeserving people of Capernaum, you should be able to do even better for your own hometown folk”. Capernaum has many gentiles among its population and is thus (in Jewish minds) less deserving. Now that Jesus is among his own people ‘God’s people’, Nazareth expects great things of him. However, Jesus cannot accept the narrowing of his mission that the people of Nazareth would impose on him. He cannot reserve his generosity only for his hometown folk. He cannot devote himself to the local arena. Instead, he told them “no prophet is acceptable in his hometown”. Do we ostracise people in our church when they say unpopular things to us? How often do we reject a priest because his sermon was boring or too long? Are we a welcoming people?
When the people heard his message they were indignant and furious with what He said for they never expected this from him as this was something new to them.
In today’s world, when someone who is not of high calibre, led a simple life but has gone through a conversion and speaks to the community, family and friends on the awesomeness and greatness of the Lord through the Holy Spirit, people find it difficult to accept and may ostracise the person by judging and speaking indifferently about that person. They may think that the person is a fanatic. They may fail to realise and grasp the ‘fruit of knowledge and wisdom’ coming out from the mouth of that person as the words of the Holy Spirit.
With Joy & Peace,
RCIA Facilitators, Gerry & Margie
Questions for Reflection
Are we guilty of this?
Are we like the citizens of Nazareth, ready to condemn the good works of someone because he does not hold a doctorate degree?
Can anything good come from the son of a carpenter?
TODAY Jesus is bringing good news to us his children through our priest, through our family members, through our friends.
Do we reject the good intentions of our priests, our family members or our friends because we know them too well?
Let us give them (young or old, rich or poor, educated or uneducated) our undivided attention because God is using them to enlighten our lives.