Gospel: Luke 4:24-30
Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:
“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.
The Gospel of the Lord.
The Mass intention is for The Brothers of St John of God.
Jesus has once again turned things upside down, in His own hometown. Having heard how Jesus preached in the synagogue, the people of Nazareth had high expectations of Him. They thought that having a miracle worker in Nazareth would put their remote town in the map. With that, they were perhaps hoping to rival Jerusalem. Their self-entitlement was obvious that the Lord has recalled to them where Elijah and Elisha were sent and performed miracles. Their expectations frustrated, they wanted to kill Jesus.
Sometimes, we behave like Jesus’ folks. Having done this number of Masses, Rosaries, Stations of the Cross, fasting, abstinence, etc. we feel we are entitled to God’s blessing. We expect that God answers our prayers, in our own terms. However, God tells us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Perhaps we could learn something from Naaman the Syrian. In today’s First Reading (2 Kings 5:1-15ab), he was sent to Elisha to be healed of his leprosy. When he was told to bathe seven times in the River Jordan, he was indignant because he was expecting something better. He finally relented and having bathed in the Jordan, was healed. His flesh became like a flesh of a little child, an image of what we should be to inherit God’s Kingdom.
- Is your faith like that of Jesus’ contemporaries or of Naaman the Syrian?
- What is Jesus expecting of you, especially this Lent?
- “Lord, Your thorns are my roses and Your suffering my paradise.” (St John of God). What does Jesus’ sacrifice mean in your life?
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word today. Through the prayers and example of St John of God, help us to be childlike that we may know Your ways and patiently look forward to Your promised salvation. Amen.
Suggested Lenten penance: Spend ten minutes praying before the Crucifix.