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Thursday, 27 January 2022 11:32

Celebrating At Home - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Homecoming 2 (Luke 4:21-30)

This Sunday’s Gospel continues Luke’s story of Jesus’ visit to his hometown. The warmth, welcome and approval with which Jesus was initially greeted soon turns into an ugly scene.

Last week, in the synagogue in Nazareth Jesus announced his mission quoting the words of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. He comes as God’s anointed one, filled with the Spirit, to proclaim good news to the poor, liberty to captives, new sight to the blind; to set the downtrodden free and to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.

Now, at first astonished by ‘the gracious words that came from his lips’, the people can hardly believe that this message of welcome and acceptance by God could be coming from the boy they watched grow up. He is beginning to sound like a prophet, but, ‘This is Joseph’s son, surely?’

Jesus accuses them of wanting him to play the prophet for their benefit: to stay in Nazareth and do miracles and wonders just for them, like some kind of local magician.

The townspeople cannot recognise or respond to God’s word spoken in Jesus. Certain that they know exactly who Jesus is, they cannot hear the message and believe in him.

Using examples from the lives of the prophets Elijah and Elisha Jesus makes plain that God’s offer of salvation is not restricted just to them, nor indeed, even to Israelites. Neither the widow nor Naaman are Israelites. God’s love is unconditional and meant for all.

The people are so enraged that they want to kill him, but Jesus slips away to continue his journey according to God’s plan.

This whole episode reminds us that God’s offer of hospitality and welcome to us cannot be treated just as lovely words, nor God as some kind of personal wonderworker.

It is as though the Nazarenes thought that they had God, Jesus and his message neatly worked out and arranged for their sole benefit. It was a kind of superficial response - ‘What’s in it for us?’

Jesus brings these thoughts out into the open because the salvation he brings cannot rest just on the surface. It is meant to touch, explore and heal the depths of human beings. That is the journey of conversion.

This resource is presented by the Carmelites of Australia & Timor-Leste at a time when many cannot gather together as we usually do to celebrate the Eucharist. We are conscious that Christ is present not only in the Blessed Sacrament but also in the Scriptures and in our hearts. Even when we are on our own we remain part of the Body of Christ.

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

This text is arranged with parts for a leader and for all to pray, but the leader’s parts can be shared among those present.

As you use this prayer know that the Carmelites will be remembering in our prayer all the members of our family at this time.

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