When Jesus came to Nazareth where He had been brought up, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath as He usually did. He stood up to read and they handed him the book of the prophet Isaiah. Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written: «The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and announce the Lord's year of mercy».
Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down, while the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then He said to them, «Today these prophetic words come true even as you listen». All agreed with him and were lost in wonder, while He kept on speaking 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 with-held 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.
How sad is the situation and cruel can be the humanity, which rejects the truth and wishes to hear only that is pleasing to the ears! However, Jesus insists that He is here to stay with the poor and the oppressed. A great consolation to us all.
Sometime, in our own ignorance we repeat what the contemporaries of Jesus have done to Him, by not listening others in our work place and home. Anything unpleasing to us, without any proper evaluation, we too are tempted to reject and oppress.
Jesus invites us to be filled with the Holy Spirit and with Spirit’s impulsion, let us take up the mission forward, through our proper discernment and wise decisions. Helping the poor and needy, giving justice to our people, particularly our house maids, etc. It is here that we bring the gospel message alive and active to the needy, for whom God wishes that we act upon.
In today’s gospel, Jesus does help us to face our adversaries with courage, just like Him. God will take care of us and bring everything to its logical conclusion. By bringing the widow of Zarephth and Naaman as exemples, Jesus affirms us that God continues to work and take care of His people. Very few of us have the courage of giving away the last hope in favour of the other, just like this widow. No one wishes to listen to the servant and be humble, just like Naaman. Jesus points to us, that God didn’t abandon these people. Today, can He count us with them? It is here that we become a person of faith, filled with love and compassion.
Action of the day: Be a person of faith and hope to the needy and poor
«Today these prophetic words come true even as you listen»
Fr. David AMADO i Fernández
Today, «these prophetic words come true even as you listen» (Lk 4:21). With these words, Jesus comments at the synagogue of Nazareth a text from the prophet Isaiah: «The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me» (Lk 4:18). These words have a meaning that goes beyond the specific historical moment when they were said. The Holy Spirit fully dwells in Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit sends him to believers.
But, in addition, the words of the Gospel are the words of both eternal and current life. They are eternal because The Eternal One has said them, and they are current because God makes them to be permanently fulfilled. When we listen to the Word of God, we have to receive it not as a human speech, but as the Word that has the power of transforming us. God does not speak to our ear but to our heart. Whatever He says is profoundly full of meaning and love. The Word of God is an inexhaustible source of life: «Who, O Lord, could possibly penetrate with his mind even one of your utterances? Just as in the case of thirsty men who drink from a fountain we leave behind more than that we can take a hold of» (St. Ephraem). His words come out of the heart of God. And, from this heart, from the Trinity's bosom, Jesus came —the Father's Word— to mankind.
This is why when, everyday, we listen to the Gospel, we must be able to say, along with the Virgin Mary: «May it be done to me according to your word» (Lk 1:38); to which God will reply: «Today these prophetic words come true even as you listen». However, for the Word to be effective in our lives, we must get rid of all our prejudices. Jesus' contemporaries did not understand it, because they were looking at him with human eyes only: «Who is this but Joseph's son?» (Lk 4:22). They could see Jesus Christ's humanity, but they could not appreciate his divinity. Whenever we listen to the Word of God, beyond its literary style, the beauty of its expressions or the singularity of the situation, we must remember it is God who is speaking to us.