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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 4th (C) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Jer 1:4-5.17-19): The word of the Lord came to me, saying: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. But do you gird your loins; stand up and tell them all that I command you. Be not crushed on their account, as though I would leave you crushed before them; for it is I this day who have made you a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of brass, against the whole land: against Judah's kings and princes, against its priests and people. They will fight against you but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm: 70
R/. I will sing of your salvation.
In you, o Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me, and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me.

Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress. O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.

For you are my hope, o Lord; my trust, o God, from my youth. On you I depend from birth; from my mother's womb you are my strength.

My mouth shall declare your justice, day by day your salvation. O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
2nd Reading (1Cor 12:31—13:13): Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way. If I speak in human and angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Versicle before the Gospel (Lk 4:18): Alleluia. The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 4,21-30): Jesus began to speak in the synagogue, «Today these prophetic words come true even as you listen». All agreed with him and were lost in wonder, while he kept on speaking of the grace of God. Nevertheless they asked, «Who is this but Joseph's son?». So he said, «Doubtless you will quote me the saying: ‘Doctor, heal yourself!’. Do here in your town what they say you did in Capernaum». Jesus added, «No prophet is honored in his own country. Truly, I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens with­held rain for three years and six months and a great famine came over the whole land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow of Zarephath, in the country of Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha, the prophet, and no one was healed except Naaman, the Syrian».

On hearing these words, the whole assembly became indignant. They rose up and brought him out of the town, to the edge of the hill on which Nazareth is built, in­tending to throw him down the cliff. But he passed through their midst and went his way.

«No prophet is honored in his own country»

Fr. Pere SUÑER i Puig SJ (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, in this fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, our liturgy again shows Jesus speaking at the synagogue at Nazareth. It is the continuation of last Sunday's Gospel, where Jesus was reading Isaiah's prophecy: «The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and announce the Lord's year of mercy (...)» (Lk 4:18-19). And, when Jesus finishes the reading He avows: «Today these prophetic words come true even as you listen» (Lk 4:21).

The Gospel points out that they were lost in wonder while his lips spoke of the grace. Jesus was well known by the assembly —Jesus having spent his infancy and youth in Nazareth— but that did not help their accepting him as a prophet. Nathanael said in this respect: «Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?» (Jn 1:46). Jesus reproaches them for their skepticism, and reminds them that: «No prophet is honored in his own country» (Lk 4:24). And He tells them about Elijah and Elisha, who accomplished miracles for foreigners but not for their fellow citizens.

On hearing him they become very violent. They even tried to throw him down the cliff. As for us, don't we think often enough that God's saving actions should be made more in accordance with our vainglorious criteria! Don't we feel insulted when He makes use of something we considered of little value? We would like a more spectacular God. But, this appears to be more like his tempter, (Satan), when from the pinnacle told Jesus: «If you are the Son of God, jump off!» (Lk 4:9).

But, Jesus Christ has revealed himself to us as a humble God: the Son of man «came not to be ministered unto, but to minister» (Mk 10:45). Let us imitate him. To save our souls we need not be like saint Xavier, patron of the Missions. The humble saint Therese of the infant Jesus is his companion, as she is also the patron saint of the missions…