Sunday, January 30, 2022: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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 moth. 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 filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to 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.
This Sunday’s gospel starts where last Sunday’s ended. This is the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel. The last line of last week’s gospel is the first line of this week’s. So the young man Jesus is speaking in the synagogue where he grew up. These people knew him as Joseph’s son, just an ordinary guy. But they are confused. They have heard puzzling things about him. They may have heard of the wedding feast in Cana and all that wine. It seems obvious Jesus is picking up on non-verbal communication. This is an example of something that happens often; Jesus has insight into what people are thinking and brings their feelings and thoughts into the open. So he says their thoughts out loud: “Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum” and goes on to quote a proverb, “No prophet is accepted in his own native place.” It almost looks as if Jesus is picking a fight. He is merely being direct and telling things as they are.
With his examples, they eventually got the message that Jesus was not going to do the miracles that he did in Capernaum in their home town Nazareth. An uprising followed and they tried to kill him, but Jesus slipped away from them.
Make a fist and feel how your whole body feels in response to making that fist. Then open your hand as if receiving a gift. Notice again how your whole body feels. There were clenched fists in the synagogue that day. Prayer requires relaxation, open hands speak non-verbally: “take, Lord, receive.” God can place gifts in our open, receptive hands. This week, communicate your openness to God by consciously praying with open hands.