Read Luke 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... Read More…
Meet Sister Maureen O'Brien
As a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur for 60 years, Sr. Maureen has had the privilege of witnessing to Notre Dame’s mission in the... Read More…
Sunday’s Gospel is Luke’s action packed introduction to Jesus’ ministry preceded by forty days of prayer and fasting in the desert, three epic temptations by the devil, and the fickle adulation of crowds at synagogues in Galilee at the beginning of Chapter 4.(Luke 4:1-15).
The highs and the lows of these events in Luke’s Gospel are riveting. Luke led with them to set the stage for the message of the universal call to salvation at the core of Jesus’ teaching and encounters with Jews and non-Jews. How earth shaking was this message in a closed religious society which depended on artificial boundaries shaped by a religious elite! Another shattering revelation occurs in the encounter with the devil who addressed Jesus as the Son of God in two of the temptations. He attempted to ensnare Jesus by appealing to a human hunger for uniqueness fueled by pride and power.
Jesus brushed the temptations aside and returned to Galilee. He went home to Nazareth where he was welcomed as Joseph, the carpenter’s son. On the Sabbath, the religious presider honored Jesus by inviting him to read the words of Isaiah.
But after returning the book to the presider and sitting down, Jesus did what no one expected him to do; he addressed the congregation and said: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” He then went on to bluntly tell them that “no prophet in accepted in his own native place.” The people of Nazareth had heard what Jesus had done in Capernaum and felt that they owned him. He was their own religious celebrity! And he was not willing to be a healer or preacher on demand.
After he had the audacity to speak about the prophets Elijah and Elisha’s outreach to the widow in Sidon and cleansing of the leper, Naaman a Syrian, a boiling point was reached. Jesus’s neighbors became enraged and set in motion a response of rejection and violence. Clearly, the truth doesn’t always set us free!
Are we willing to open ourselves to a truth which can set us free? What words of Jesus, what reactions by others hold our minds and hearts? The word of God has the power to turn our lives upside down and lead us in directions that frighten us. God’s word above all has the power to set us free!