Fr Paul Gooley reads today from the Gospel of Luke (4: 24-30) in which Jesus says no prophet is accepted in his hometown.

Fr Paul says the full impact of this Gospel scene becomes apparent only when we remember that it occurs at Nazareth, and it occurs right at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

It is Jesus’ declaration about the opening and setting his ministry. It is essentially a story of non-conversion: the Nazarenes have been given the chance to be the first recipients of Jesus’ message and they have turned it down. They think they know him, but they really don’t!

So, Jesus will be forced to turn to the gentiles, as did Elijah and Elisha, bringing God’s healing to Syrians rather than to God’s Chosen People.

This passage does not occur in the other Gospels. Here, Luke is already looking ahead to the gentile mission which he will outline in the Acts of the Apostles: three times Paul is rejected by the Jews. Three times he is forced to leave the Jews and bring Christ’s message to the gentiles: in Asia, in Greece and finally in Rome. Jesus is, after all, the light of the world, not only the glory of his people, Israel.

Fr Paul invites us to reflect on today’s Gospel Lesson – Do we really know who Jesus is? Do we only accept him when it suits us?