January 31, 2016
Lk 4: 21-30
Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.
But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
Help My Unbelief
Finally, it seemed, Jesus was revealing who he really was. Listening to his gracious words, “all spoke highly of him and were amazed”! …Until he touched some dangerous buttons! …Until he suggested that God could look beyond his “chosen people,” and in fact had done so often in the past.
When he said that, his listeners were “filled with fury”! They didn’t just walk out on him – they tried to kill him.
Easy for us to condemn those Jews. How could they simply close their ears to God’s revelation ? Where was their faith in the God of their fathers? How close-minded can people be?
But wait a minute. Am I always ready to hear unsettling words? Don’t I ever bristle when the Pope asks us Catholics to embrace the seriously poor: ex-cons, refugees, homeless people begging at street corners? Ever think (though I wouldn’t say it): “They made their bed, let them lie in it!” Or, if my mind concurs with the Pope’s words, do my actions follow it? Habits still die hard, prejudices still go deep.
Dear Lord, I do believe…Help my unbelief!
—Fr. Jack O’Callaghan, S.J. assists the Dean at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine with programs in Ignatian Spirituality.
Loving God, you have revealed yourself to us in Jesus in a way immeasurably more clearly than you did to our Jewish forebears. As we thank you for that, we also beg you to open up our faith, to enlarge our hearts, to enable us to embrace all our neighbors. Your Son died for everyone. We pray in his name. Amen.
—Fr. Jack O’Callaghan, S.J.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!