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4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted on January 31, 2019

Today's Gospel is one of tension and contradiction. We enter the scene at the local synagogue. It is near the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry, and he has returned home to Nazareth for a short while. There, in the midst of the men who watched him grow up and who played with him as a boy in the dusty streets, Je-sus proclaims that he is the fulfillment of the Messi-anic prophecies of Isaiah. The response is understand-ably mixed. "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 Jo-seph?'" Jesus reminds them - none too gently - of the Israel-ites' rejection of the prophets throughout history. Not only did the people ignore Elijah and Elisha, but they worked miracles among the pagans instead. Then comes the rage. "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 head-long." No one likes to be reminded of their own faults. In the deeply religious Jewish society, nobody wanted to be the unfaithful one. Jesus exposes the sins of the com-munity, and it drives them not to conversion, but to rage. We can consider our own time. How often, when someone is contracted, do they quickly resort to anger, name-calling, and undermining the reputation of the other? How quickly we want to destroy! This Sunday, we ought to consider our own lives. Do we listen to the prophetic voices around us, even when they threaten to upturn our expectations? If we hear something difficult, something that reminds us of our own sin, do we accept the opportunity to prayerfully ponder? If we allow ourselves to be open to the pro-phetic voices in our own lives, we'll notice that God speaks through the unexpected, if we have ears to hear it. 

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