It has been hot in the southern parts of Australia, but it was very hot in the Synagogue of Nazareth. We talk about road rage, and that can be violent. And for Jesus, his own people turned on him and, in the words of the Gospel, “hustled him out of the town…took him up to the brow of the hill…….intending to throw him down the cliff…” Things were indeed hot on that hill and would be even hotter on the Calvary hill a few months later.
We began these reflections for 2019 by asking the three great questions that Luke seems to be about answering:
Who is Jesus?……He is God’s Son!
What sort of a Son is he?……An obedient Son!
What kind of a Messiah is he to be?……A prophetic Messiah!
His crime in Nazareth seems to be that he dared to proclaim the Good News to everyone, citing the examples of Elijah and Elisha who delivered the ‘others’ from famine and drought and cured the lepers from Syria.
How could a genuine Prophet and one claiming to be “anointed with the Spirit” be interested in ‘others’?
His platform is not strictly economic or political, but it will have those overtones if carried out. Its revolutionary proposal is for Jesus and his followers to offer cures, comfort, healing and teaching directly to the people and this radical approach is compounded by their personal efforts being offered directly to all people, not simply to the chosen people. It was too much. You can’t say all are welcome. But He did and asks us to do the same.
P.S. For those with access to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter four of that document has Pope Francis reflecting upon today’s second reading. Well worth a visit and well worth doing it in a small group.