When Jesus spoke in the Synagogue, at the beginning of the Gospel, we are told that he “won the approval of all” and they were “astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips”. He had them eating out of his hand! Then, it seems, he insults them and then things go pear shaped!
There is more than one way of understanding this text. Jesus spoke challenging words, this his hearers did not like. Maybe he hearers – fellow villagers – felt that they got a raw deal and that he was harder on them than he was on so-called “outsiders”.
We all react to the messages we don’t want to hear, the ones that make us feel awkward, point to our own insecurities and show us up. Jesus, like the prophet Jeremiah in the first reading, had a message that his own people found hard to accept – so hard that they eventually choose to kill him. We know all to well of people in our own country whose message was too hard to accept, people who were killed because of what they said and stood for. Our history is littered with such people.
We learn three lessons from the text this week: i) religion can bring the best out of us – or the worst! ii) courage is at the heart of a deeply-rooted faith and iii) Jesus (like the prophets) sought to bring about a cultural revolution.
Join Fr Russell Pollitt SJ as he reflects on the readings for the Fourth Sunday of the Year.
Read the texts in your Bible or hover your mouse over the references below to see the texts.
Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19; Psalm 70; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30
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