Third Week of Lent- Monday
Reading: Luke 4:24-30
And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven were shut up for three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them were cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’ When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill, on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
We are invited to reflect on some of the experiences of the life of Jesus, why they may have happened and what they have to teach us today. Jesus brought a message of good news that taught the people a new way of living; ‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.’ (John 13: 34
This message was not accepted by the people. Jesus challenged the people to live a covenant relationship with God and they took offence at him and at his message. He was the local carpenter, ‘the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judas, and Simon.’ (Mark 6:3) They asked why he should have been chosen by God for this special ministry; they may have felt that they were more educated, wealthier and better prepared for this special ministry and they despised him for it. Here was Jesus asking them to care for all who lived on the margins of society (Matthew 25:31-46) they were having none of it; and he had to be removed. Faithful to his call, Jesus was undaunted; he had come to bring life in all its fullness to all people. (John 10:10) He passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
The message of Jesus is as relevant and needed today as ever. Many people are searching for direction in their lives and for guidance on how to grow closer to God. The answers lie in the scriptures; ‘come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11:28) Today, many holy people share this message with God’s people but are not always accepted. Oscar Romero, Catholic Archbishop of El Salvador spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture. Archbishop Romero was assassinated while offering Mass in El Salvador on the 24th March1980. This crime of our time reminds us that if we are to serve Jesus we will face many trials and tribulations; ‘My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing. Set your heart right and be steadfast’ (Sirach 2:1) We are asked to ‘Trust him, and he will help you; make your ways straight, and hope in him.’ (Sirach 2:6) We are asked to be faithful to our call to share the gospel with all people so that they will hear the invitation that God is offering to them ‘that with the eyes of your mind enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.’ (Ephesians 1:18)
We are reminded that the spirit of God moves where it wills; (John 3:8) God chooses those whom He wishes to share in this ministry. We have to be open to the choosing of God and be willing partakers in this sacred ministry. Our hope and our focus has to be on God and his message reassuring us of his promise to be with us as we share his desire that the kingdom of God is brought about on this earth. (Matthew 6:10) Like Jesus and Oscar Romero, we may pay a high price for sharing the gospel with our world today, however we are assured of God’s words of promise that He is with us and we are to look to ‘Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.’ (Hebrews 12:2) Prayer
Lord, I ask for the grace to be a faithful witness to you.
May the joy of the gospel so fill my heart
that I may share your word with your people.
Cleanse my heart of fear,
may I be unafraid to speak your words to all
who are crying out for new life;
through the power of the Holy Spirit,
may many come to know your great love,
each new day.
I ask this, in the power of your name,
O most holy God, Amen.