Jesus is rejected in Nazareth
Fr Paul reads the Gospel from Luke (4: 16-30) in which Jesus said no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.
As we begin this week, we need to note that we have stopped reading from the Gospel of Matthew and are now reading from the Gospel of Luke, near the beginning (Chapter 4). Fr Paul says we see in this Gospel a real roller coaster ride of ups and downs.
Jesus is in his hometown; one minute all the eyes are on him; everyone speaks wonderfully of him; and the next they are hustling him out of the town, wishing to kill him.
This is a very charged, electrifying situation when we think about it.
Jesus deliberately, as we see in the Gospel, finds this passage from Isaiah and reads it out. Having read it out, he declares that this is being fulfilled. Those listening think they know who Jesus is… ‘This is Joseph’s son surely?’ but that certainty is shattered and Jesus goes further stating that if they do not want him he will go beyond the land of Israel hence the references to Elisha and Zarephath and the Syrian Naaman. Jesus is prepared to go beyond the chosen people, the Jews, and this enrages all those who are present in the synagogue.
In reality, Jesus pulls no punches as we begin reading from Luke. He leaves no doubt at all that his mission is to come to those who are poor and oppressed. His mission is to bring happiness and healing to them and if those from his hometown reject him (as they do) then he will find these people and continue his mission outside the chosen people.
So, Fr Paul remind us, we see in these very early days of his ministry in Luke that Jesus experiences rejection.
For our prayer today Fr Paul invites us to reflect… ‘Do I accept Jesus and who Jesus is, or do I reject him at times because I know better?