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4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – More Than Meets the Eye


“And he said, ‘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 Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away” (Luke 4:24-30).
 
In this Gospel, Jesus returned to his hometown and encountered people with whom he had grown up. Last week, we heard about the first part of his visit in which he read from the book of the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue. This week, we hear that Jesus suggested that he was the fulfillment of the messianic prophecy.
 
Those present might have been able to accept that one of their own was the Messiah, the one who would restore Israel by destroying enemies and vanquishing all who were not the chosen people. However, Jesus asserted that God’s mission and ministry were meant for all people, not just them. His words revealed a message of love that extended even to the Gentiles. Those who were listening to Jesus were challenged to extend their vision of who counts as God’s people. In fact, they were so challenged by it that it drove them to anger and to want to get rid of Jesus.
 
It can be difficult to hear and accept words that draw us out of our comfort zone, but our call is to live out the mission of Jesus, loving God and all of God’s people.
 
When have you experienced someone challenging your perception of God and the way God works in others? How did you respond?

Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International.

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