MONDAY, THIRD WEEK OF LENT
Reading 1: 2 Kgs 5:1-15 Naaman, a leper, is cured by bathing three times in the Jordan River.
Gospel: Lk 4: 24-30 Jesus returns to his home town Nazareth, but he is rejected by his old friends, who want to kill him.
WELCOMING OUR SAVIOUR WITH HUMILITY
Today’s gospel speaks about Jesus’ rejection by his own people. Just a few verses earlier, we find Jesus reading from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, about the mission of the Messiah. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me„.” Jesus’ first words after reading the text were “This text is being fulfilled today in your hearing.” And Luke writes that he won the approval of all. Immediately however, we encounter today’s gospel passage wherein there is a drastic change in the attitude of the people. From rejoicing, they are now angered to the point of trying to kill him. What brought about this drastic change? Arrogance.
Isaiah’s prophecy proclaimed the greatness of the Messiah – God would empower him with his own Spirit – as well as the great blessings and privileges that the people associated with him would receive – ‘good news to the afflicted, liberty to the captives, sight to the blind, relief to the oppressed.’ Thus, when Jesus proclaimed himself to be the one Isaiah was referring to, the people had no trouble accepting it; in fact, they rejoiced because they had heard what he had done in Capernaum. And if he had done so much for those outsiders, how much more would he do for his own! They approved of him because they considered it their right to receive the best of those blessings and privileges, up until Jesus, recognizing their arrogant presumption, bluntly told them the truth, that he had come for all, and he belonged to all – favouring none, excluding none.
When arrogance is confronted by the truth, its only response is anger and violence. If the people of Nazareth felt they had a claim over Jesus of Nazareth, it is not impossible for the same attitude of arrogance and privilege to poison the hearts of those who bear the name of Christ. Beware therefore dear Christian, to hold close to your heart at all times, the antidote to arrogance, that of humility
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 42:1-2, 43:3-4 My soul is thirsting for God, the living God. When can I enter and appear before the face of God?
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