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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

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 Lk 4:21-30): Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying: “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, “Isn’t this 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.

“No prophet is accepted in his own native place”

+ 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, 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.” (...) (Lk 4:18-19). And, when Jesus finishes the reading He avows: “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing” (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 anything good come from Nazareth?” (Jn 1:46). Jesus reproaches them for their skepticism, and reminds them that: “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place” (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, throw yourself down from here” (Lk 4:9).

But, Jesus Christ has revealed himself to us as a humble God: the Son of man “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve” (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…

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

-“Every soul, bereft of virtue and divine knowledge, as soon as she receives the divine word, learns to nourish it with the bread of virtue, and to water the teaching of virtue from the fountain of life.” (Saint Basil the Great)

-“Cheer up, God always bless you, as he walks with you. Precisely through the gift of the Spirit, Jesus will enable believers to share in his filial communion and intimacy with the Father.” (Saint John Paul II)

  • “In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission (Cf. Isa 11:2). The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism (...) was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 1286)