Accepting the messenger..LUKE 4:21–30
By Rosemarie Siewnarine
“I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.” (Lk 4:24)
Today, our liturgy again shows Jesus speaking at the synagogue at Nazareth. It is the continuation of last Sunday’s gospel, (Lk 4:1–4, 14–21), the second half of which portrayed Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth.
Here is Jesus on His home turf, and He finds it hard to get a hearing. When they heard His gracious words, their reaction was not to the words but to what they thought they knew of Jesus’ foster-father, Joseph.
What did they know? That he was a carpenter and a quiet man—they seem to judge Jesus by association. Not all the residents of Nazareth were prepared to believe in someone they knew and had seen grow up, and who was now inviting them to realise a long-awaited dream.
The gospel points out that they were lost in wonder while He spoke of the grace. Jesus was well-known by the assembly, 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 scepticism and reminds them that“…no prophet is ever accepted in his own country”.
From the outset of Jesus’ ministry, rejection and failure seemed to figure more prominently than acceptance and success. Nevertheless, nothing deterred Him, nothing could squelch the ministry He had outlined that day in Nazareth.
Jesus’ ministry was often challenged and so too will our ministry be challenged from time to time.
Like Jesus, we may have experienced rejection in our families, workplaces, community, society, in our church and in other areas of our lives. That rejection may have brought us to accept, reject or work alongside to find our purpose.
We must be careful in our actions that we do not behave like these people in Nazareth, allowing others to feel rejected or unwanted since the Kingdom of God belongs to all His creation regardless of colour, creed, status, or personal beliefs.
We are often guilty of judging others; we need to be able to live in love with different points of view and ways of life. We may encounter circumstances and people on this journey: troubled teens, single parents, persons hooked on substances, members of our Church family struggling with issues, poverty-stricken individuals etc. We are challenged to react the same way Jesus did.
We witnessed how the people got angry to the point they wanted to throw Him off a cliff. Prophetic voices being rejected by their own is a common phenomenon. This rejection was something Jesus foretold would also happen to His followers, simply for proclaiming Jesus’ vision of life.
Change is not always an easy process; adapting to new methods, strategies and ideas takes time. Jesus’ vision was to bring Good News to the poor; to proclaim release to the captives; recovery of sight to the blind; freedom to the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
You’re invited to accept this vision as you respond to His call today.
Lord Jesus, may my mouth proclaim Your words, keep guard at the door of my lips, so that words of hope, comfort and healing may flow from my heart, as I accept Your call to do Your will on Earth. Amen.
The gospel meditations for January were by Rosemarie Siewnarine, a teacher at Carapichaima RC Primary, and a parishioner of Our Lady of Mt Carmel RC Church, Carapichaima.