February 3, 2019 Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Fr Jim Miller

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 JER 1:4-5, 17-19


Responsorial Psalm PS 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15-17

  1. (cf. 15ab) I will sing of your salvation.

Reading 2  1 COR 12:31—13:13


Or  1 COR 13:4-13

Alleluia LK 4:18

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
    to proclaim liberty to captives.

Gospel LK 4:21-30

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time—February 2 & 3, 2019


The Prophet Jeremiah says the word of the Lord came to him saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.”  Now that is a clear calling for Jeremiah but to be a prophet is not easy because it often means calling people to change their lives because they are not living according to God’s ways and most people do not want to hear that.   Parents often experience this challenge when they have to correct the behavior of their children. When we love someone we want them to make good choices.

Each one of us can take time to reflect on the first part of the word of the Lord that Jeremiah heard.  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you. . .” If God dedicates us even before we are born how can people think it is alright to take the life of an unborn child.   Imagine God knowing you from your conception through the day of your birth and until now. What is God’s plan for you today and into the future? Hold that thought as we now look at the gospel.

Last week Jesus read from the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.   He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”   Jesus then says “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” The people begin by speaking highly of Jesus but then they remember he is the son of Joseph.  Jesus can’t be that great. It is not explicit in Luke’s account why the residents of Nazareth turned on Jesus, but it certainly had something to do with his bold speech. Mark’s version of these events makes that plain, “Where did this man get all this?  Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary?...And they took offense at him”(Mk 6:2-3) Luke compresses this controversy into a subtle phrase that the Lectionary renders "They also asked, 'Isn't this the son of Joseph?'" The surprise they experienced at his gracious words quickly turned sour when they“ considered the man they thought they knew.  Jesus was not allowed to speak about himself or about God with such boldness. No one with Jesus’ background, they thought, could preach authentically the words they heard from his mouth.

Saint John Chrysostom states, “When our Lord came to Nazareth, he refrains from miracles. . .but he sets before them his teaching, no less wonderful than his miracles. . .Nazareth would be a place of humiliation for him, a training ground for Golgotha.  Nazareth was in Galilee. . .a despised region in the eyes of the more cultured people. . .God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the self-wise and proud.” St. John Chrysostom says the people of Nazareth did not accept Jesus because of envy.  St. Gregory the Great wrote that “From envy are born hatred, detraction, calumny, joy caused by the misfortune of a neighbor, and displeasure caused by his prosperity” We counter envy by meditating on God’s goodness; by acts of gratitude, humility, and fraternal charity; by seeking meekness and kindness.

The second reading from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians we often hear at weddings.  We might then associate it with romantic love but it is more than that. Paul is telling us of the love that must surround and infuse our entire lives as Christians.  Without this love Paul says, “I am nothing.” In our lives as Christians we are called to follow the examples of Jeremiah, Paul, and Jesus. Imagine if everyone was patient, kind, not jealous, not pompous, not inflated, not rude, not seeking our own interests, not quick-tempered, and not brooding over injuries.   We would have a wonderful world. Let us keep working on our ability to love.

When the people of Nazareth wanted to throw Jesus off of the cliff Jesus passed through their midst and gave them the opportunity to reflect and repent and hopefully come to belief in Jesus as our Messiah, our Savior.   May we show the same love and compassion for others and sometimes we may need to show it to ourselves.

The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi encourages us when we pray the words “Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.”

Questions to ponder:

Have you ever felt the wounds of rejection as Jesus did in the gospel today?

What is Jesus calling you to become right now on your journey?


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