A Daily Gospel Reflection by Dn. Ray Gallego for September 4th, 2023

The Gospel according to Luke (4:16-30)

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'” And he said, “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: The WORD of GOD lives in us through Baptism, in Mass, at Communion, in your heart and through your daily life. This is the shortest Homily that I have ever heard but if you “stop and listen” to the message it’s quite nourishing. Imagine if you attended mass and you heard a two-sentence homily. Would this specific homily be fulfilling, or would you feel cheated? Now imagine if this homily was given by The Messiah.

Speak Lord, your servant is listening. St. Teresa of Avila said, “When you pray, God listens. When you listen, God talks. When you believe, God works”. As curious as it seems, our openness to a message often depends quite heavily on our openness to its messenger. Have you ever rejected somebody’s advice outright only to later embrace it when it comes from a different person? Have you disregarded a light from God because he revealed it to you through a person you would not have chosen, or even imagined God would have chosen? This is the common, simple error of the Nazarenes that Christ felt he had to point out to them. What has Christ been trying to tell me recently? Through whom? Am I ready to listen to him and allow him to use whatever messenger he may choose?

Lord, please open my heart to your message. Initially, the people of Nazareth in today’s Gospel seemed quite receptive to Christ’s message, his delivery, and his authority. What they couldn’t stomach was that they believed him just ‘one of them.’ He would later prove himself ‘too much for them.’ Surely, they must have thought that he had forgotten his roots and that his Capernaum fame had gone to his head. But of course, the Nazarenes were neither the first nor the last to fall into the trap of focusing more on the messenger than on the message. Has my hurt pride ever blinded me from listening to what Christ is desperately trying to tell me?

It’s our Apostolic duty to spread the Word. To narrow the margin of segregated, to embrace the unloved; and to create a larger social circle that includes everyone. Jesus gives us the light, virtue, and strength, but it’s our choice to put them into action. We are born to be “Apostles of Unity”, there are many practical things we can do to achieve it.

So, in conclusion, I ask this question. Which would you want to be … Successful or Significant? Hopefully you will be SIGNIFICANT. Significance is when you help others be successful … in sports, in school, at church, at work or at home. Success last for a moment but Significance is what last a lifetime.

ACTION OF THE DAY: Today, as Christ renews his commitment to us, let’s ask him to heal the divisions that plague us, and let’s promise to do our part to always be “united in mind and purpose” with him, with his Church as His Apostles. The photo below is just one example of taking action as an Apostle of Unity.


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