Gospel Reflection: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JANUARY 31, 2016

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,

And to proclaim liberty to captives.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

 The Gospel of Saint 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.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

Before we begin the sacred season of Lent (Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016) we have this Sunday and one remaining Sunday in Ordinary Time.  In a careful arrangement of Gospel readings, our holy Church is providing us a three week mini course in Christian Discipleship anchored in the Word of Godanchored in Jesus, who is the Word of God.

In Saint John’s Gospel, the reality of Jesus as the Word of God is offered in this way: In the beginning was the Word … and the Word was God …. And the Word became flesh!  Last Sunday, and repeated this Sunday, Saint Luke’s Gospel expresses the same truth by Jesus telling us that when we hear Him we are hearing the Word of God: Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.  The Word of God has become flesh in the person of Jesus!  No longer can one claim that God’s Word is obscure or distant.  The Word of God lives among us in Jesus!

Building on last week, St. Luke moves us to contemplate the implications of accepting or not accepting the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, the Word of God.  For on hearing the Word, when actively listening to the Word, we are presented with a choice.  We either have to accept it or reject it.  There is no middle ground because not to accept Jesus as THE WORD OF GOD is to deny the identity of Jesus; not embracing the Word is to reject Jesus as the Only Way, the Only Truth, and the Only Life!

Some people think or feel that they can remain passive, that they do not need to make a decision on Jesus now.   But, to not make a decision, is to make a decision; it is to reject Jesus.  The choice is bold and urgent because it is a choice between life and death!  Jesus Christ is the first, final and absolute Word of God.  The way of Jesus is the only way – it is His way or we put ourselves at risk.  What Jesus teaches is absolutely true — I do not get to pick and chose.  The life of Jesus is the only way to live – any other way is death!

Like the people of Nazareth, some or many today feel that Jesus is merely of human origin — Isn’t this the son of Joseph?   Some feel that the way, truth and life of Jesus is one opinion among many.   Some teach that Jesus is just one among many great teachers, great leaders, and great models of living.  The Gospel proclaims clearly that Jesus Christ is the one and only norm of truth and life.  Christian faith is accepting Jesus completely – accepting the Word of God in His entirety.

The truth of the matter is that: we have witnessed in our own lives the freedom that Christ has given us.  Our human anxieties have been replaced with confidence in God who loves us.  We are no longer blind to the way, truth and life.  We see and believe that Jesus as our only way, our only truth, and the only life we want now and forever.  Amen!

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

REJOICE & WITNESS

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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