Message from Fr Joe (30/01/2022)

4th SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

Dear friends,

In our reading today, we are reminded that Jesus came to save ALL people.  There are no limits to God’s love.
First Reading:(Jer.1.4-5.17-19) Jeremiah is called from the moment of his conception for one purpose: Life with God. This is true of us as well.                                              Second reading (1 Cor.12:31-12.13) St Paul stresses that the greatest spiritual gift is LOVE. Love is not only a feeling but is a way of living that includes a commitment to others. God is love. Gospel (Lk4:21-30) In a very short time his own people of Nazareth moved from adulation to rejection and then to turning into a mob threatening to kill him.

Today’s Gospel is a continuation from last Sunday. Jesus returns to his home town. He claims that the words of the Prophet Isaiah, which he quotes, apply to him.  People who grew up with him “are astounded to his gracious words.”  But then things turn sour! What has gone wrong?

You can almost hear the people’s minds whirring! Who does he think he is?  He is only one of our own!  This man speaks about “good news for the poor”; but what does that mean for us?
We are comfortable; we are the chosen people of God.
 
He speaks of “liberty for captives”; but perhaps we would prefer to lock them up and throw away the key! He is talking about, “the Lord’s year of favour” … forgiving debts; returning property; freedom to slaves … And then he goes on to tell us about the non-Jews – the widow of Zarapheth and the Syrian, Naaman who was cured. “This is too much, we have heard enough …let’s get rid of him!” So in their rage, jealousy, and closed minds they try to throw him off the cliff. “But he sliped through the crowd and walk away”.  What a sad rejection and ending to a welcome that had such promise!  In St Luke’s Gospel, Jesus never returns to Nazareth. Before we begin ‘Tut-tutting’ about the people of Nazareth, let us be very sure that we always welcome Jesus in our lives. Jesus told us: “I was hungry, thirsty, naked, in difficulty, rejected …” and what did we do to help him?

We are asked to love God and neighbour; God is love … St Paul writes: “love is always patient and kind, never jealous or boastful, never rude or selfish …” This love is what should guide our thoughts and actions each day.

That all for this week, God bless, Fr Joe

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