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The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 2, 2019

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 by Monsignor Joseph Marino

As we navigate this Ordinary Time before the beginning of Lent (March 6th) and the celebration of Easter (April 21st), our holy Church provides us a 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 identical truth by having Jesus tell 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 is available and lives among us in Jesus Christ!  The Word of God is brought to life in the proclamation of the Scriptures and especially in the Gospel at each and every celebration of Mass!

The words of Jesus that ended last week’s Gospel are used again by Luke to begin the Gospel of this week: Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.  The evangelist strongly encourages us to contemplate the implications of accepting or not accepting the Word of God, the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.  For on hearing the Word and by actively listening to the Word, we are presented with a choice.  We either accept it or reject it.  There is no middle ground because: by not accepting Jesus as the Word of God is to deny the identity of Jesus; by not embracing the Word of God is to reject Jesus as the Only Way, the Only Truth, and the Only Life!

The tension and conflict in the Gospel is experienced today.  Like the people of Nazareth, many feel that Jesus is merely of human origin, and consequently deny that Jesus is divine — Isn’t this the son of Joseph?   Some profess that Jesus is just one among many good teachers.  As if, one way or religion is as good as another.  The Gospel proclaims clearly that Jesus Christ is the one and only norm of truth and life.  Christian faith is accepting Jesus uniquely and  completely – accepting Jesus Christ, the Word of God in His entirety.

Some people think or feel that they can remain passive or indifferent as if they do not need to make a decision on Jesus here and now.   But, to make no decision, is to make a decision; it is to ignore Jesus.  The decision is significant and consequential 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 in a world of confusion and despair.  What Jesus teaches is absolutely true: in Christ we have even now true life; the life of Jesus is the only way that ensures life eternal!

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 is our only way, our only truth, and the only life we want now and forever.  Amen!


Monsignor Joseph Marino




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