March 13th, 2023

The Gospel according to Luke (4:24-30)

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: “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.” 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 he passed through the midst of them and went away.

Reflection:  These words scare me, “When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury”. Today’s scripture is illustrating the violence in our lives. I am not only speaking about violence in the city we live in but in our home, in this case, the synagogue, which is our church. 

How many times have you heard or seen dissention in our church? It could be anything from small disagreements to something bigger. And then, the people try to unite others to fight or protest this disagreement. Wouldn’t it be easier to apologize and talk it out? Sometimes making small / simple acts like that is hard for us because we want to seek revenge. That process could take forever, and you probably will never seek satisfaction.

We sit in our church and pray for healing, forgiveness, and a stronger faith but yet we tend to judge. A big part of it comes from listening or reading the news media which only tells you what they want you to see so you could support their view. For example, the death of our dear brother and Bishop, David O’Connell. We immediately want someone to blame and seek revenge. The Gospel uses the words, “hurl him down headlong”. How hard is it just to grieve, mourn our loss and pray, pray hard! One of the most beautiful things that occurred after his death was that a Novena started the day after his death. Now that’s coming together as a church in a positive way. I have no doubt that’s what Bishop Dave would do but he would take it one more step further. He would pray for the person that killed him. That is the only way that we could heal. It’s not seeking revenge. 

In this life of mine and yours, and especially during this Lenten season, we need to seek patience, forgiveness, love, and faith when we face controversy. I am not referring just to the people we know at church and home, but I am referring to strangers. It takes effort and it certainly isn’t easy to do that. 

In today’s scripture, the people in question here were jealous of their community of faith. Jesus was including all nationalities in the care and the saving love of God. They were jealous of their own relationship with God and used it in many ordinary ways to keep others out of favor, off land and denied human rights to anyone outside their circle. Jesus is the one of universal welcome, his heart open in prayer and life to all, no matter their creed, nation, gender, age, or any of the categories with which we are divided from each other.

Action of the Day: Find some time today or throughout the day to identify your weaknesses. Then pray to Our Father to seek help to eradicate them.

Audio Reflection:

Artwork submission by Johnny Flores

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