Gospel – Luke 4:21-30
Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying:
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb,
‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say,
‘Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'”
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.
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Prophets in Our Midst
It took the crowd in the synagogue little time to move from being “amazed at the gracious words that came from His mouth” to being filled with fury, driving Him out of town and wanting to throw Him over a cliff.
Jesus as a native of the area was not about to waste his time with them. He knew they would reduce him to insignificance as simply the son of Joseph. Jesus used Elijah and Elisha as points of reference and said bluntly “no prophet is accepted in his native place.” He realized they had their mind made up and would have nothing of him or his message.
Today in our Lasallian Family we tend to welcome the suggestions of strangers on retreats and in books rather than the wisdom of familiar Lasallians. We, like the Synagogue crowd, are tempted to ignore our familiar prophets when they imagine a different future or when they criticize our attachments to the ways of the past. We are tempted to say of them “no prophet is accepted in his native place.”
Jesus is suggesting we should imagine these voices differently. Examine the message. Realize their vocation is to criticize, catechize and energize our Lasallian Family. Join them as they re-imagine our world according to the holy purposes of God. It just might be time now for a few of these prophets to be accepted in their native place.
Brother Edward Phelan, F.S.C.
Lasallian Community at Bedford Park
Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.