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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

4Th Sunday of Ordinary Time

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This Sunday’s gospel passage is a continuation of last week’s reading when Jesus entered the synagogue and declared Isaiah’s prophecy fulfilled. In that declaration, Jesus referred to himself as God’s servant, the Chosen One upon whom God had given his Spirit. Jesus’ mission was proof of that claim; he preached, taught, and healed in the name of God’s Kingdom. His simple, straightforward declaration would cause controversy to those who thought they knew “Joseph’s son.”  They brought him to the brow of the hill and were about to throw him over the edge but as it wasn’t his time he escaped through them and went away.

When Jesus came to his home town of Nazareth and began to teach, the local Jewish community was quite proud of him. After all, they had heard of the things that he had done at Capernaum and were convinced that he was some sort of prophet from God. They believed that Jesus had just won the lottery, so to speak, and was about to shower them with God’s favour because, after all, he was one of them, so of course that is what he would do. Besides, they agreed with what he was saying – at least at first. But as long as they were pleased, they were proud and they wanted to seen in the light of special favour from God.

When Jesus speaks to his home town synagogue, he’s speaking to us in our home town church, too. Paul echoes Jesus’ message, “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” What does God’s love look like in your idea of church? Open the ears of your heart to listen for it, and your eyes to see and walk in grace to find out.

Prophets in every age are holy people that is people with God at the heart of their lives. They are uncompromising in their faithfulness to the word of God. They always speak the truth, regardless of the consequences, offering encouragement and hope to people who have no sense of meaning or purpose in life. They challenge people to repent for their sins and to seek God’s mercy. That is true compassion.

There is still a need for prophets in our society, men, women and even children who are faithful to their baptismal commitment. We need to listen to them and learn from them. Also, we need to remember that every Christian and that means all of us including you and me has to exercise the prophetic vocation in the world of work, leisure and family life, praying for the grace to fulfil this important part of our Christian life.

Being a Christian isn’t easy. Jesus never said that it was going to be an easy road to go along and we remember Good Friday and the Cross of Calvary.  Our faith as Christians calls us to live, to die to ourselves and be resurrected with Jesus over and over and over again.

With each time, our hearts get a little wiser, we know grace that much more deeply, and we are able to follow Jesus a little bit more down the road of love. Being a Christian is always going to have a cost no matter what way you look at it.  That is because good is always going to be opposed by evil and good always triumphs over evil and the evil that is within the world will never win. May we not be afraid of being what we are and that is people who are called by Jesus to follow him in faith.

 

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