Last week’s corner set up our Gospel this weekend very nicely for the fourth Sunday of Ordinary time. If you haven’t had a chance, go back and read the corner from last week because it gives context to our Gospel today.
Jesus has begun his public ministry in the Gospel of Luke and He is preaching in the synagogue, telling the Israelite people that He is the the fulfillment of all the promises of the Old Testament. And the people are excited about it. This is what they have been waiting for. As their excitement takes over and they see the fulfillment of hundreds of years of waiting through tremendous suffering and pain, Jesus then explains Himself further. And all of the excitement and joy turns to anger. So much anger they try to throw Him off a cliff. Think about the swing of emotion here for a second. They want to crown Him king and the next second throw Him off a cliff.
The reason for this swing has to do with the context of last week’s first reading which I did explain. Jesus, in this week’s Gospel, is speaking to a group of pretty strict Jewish followers. These were the followers who were strict with the law in order to save the faith. When they returned from exile, many did not follow the law. And tensions begin to brew. It is these exact tensions that are at the forefront of our Gospel today.
As Jesus tells them He is the fulfillment of the promises of God, they rejoice. But then Jesus says, “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” (Luke 4:24-27).
Jesus tells these strict Jewish people in the synagogue that God sometimes operates OUTSIDE of the Israelite people, and this is exactly what the people who came back from the exile were fighting against. So their excitement turns to anger and they wish to kill Him. But he slips away.
Our Lord comes to save us all. Not just the people we love and see here at church. He comes to save everyone - even those whose convictions and emotions we can’t understand. It’s important for us as believers to not just have an open mind but to love each person regardless of their convictions, ideas, or emotions - to love thy enemy. This can be extremely difficult for us to do.
It is also very important for us to study Scripture in order to understand our God more. Context Is very important for us to get closer to God and to develop a deeper relationship with Him. May you have a blessed week and may you see everyone through God’s loving, compassionate eyes.
May the Lord give you His peace,