Today’s Gospel: Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21 – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
This short passage from Luke’s Gospel is sandwiched between Jesus’s temptation in the desert and His being run out of his hometown. First, He visits Galilee, where He is “praised by all.” Fast-forward to Nazareth. He went to the synagogue and boldly proclaimed the prophecy of Isaiah “fulfilled in your hearing.” In this Gospel reading, we only learn that those present “looked intently.” In subsequent verses, the full reaction of the Nazarenes is revealed as they drive Jesus out of town.
Many times I’ve longed for God’s voice to be so direct, yet in my daily life, rarely is His presence or His message so plain. In this passage, Jesus identifies Himself and all that He is to do. And yet, they stare, and worse yet, later expel him.
I’d like to think my reaction would have different, but would it? How often do I paint people into a box, making assumptions based on what I know of them, maybe even their past sins? Especially those whom I’ve known my entire life, or those with whom I live. Do I hear Christ speaking to me through others, or do I dismiss them out of hand because they are familiar to me in all their fallen nature and annoying habits?
Sometimes I find it more difficult to share something deeply personal with those whom I know than virtual strangers. That’s because I care less about the opinions of people I don’t know. They have no preconceived notions about me — ones I may be reluctant to challenge due to embarrassment or shame. Do I inadvertently or intentionally overlook those people God has placed in my life to communicate His message and His love for me?
Do I recognize God in others even when He speaks plainly through those whom I know well?
Lord, help me to recognize Truth in those familiar to me, not to reject or ignore them in favor of those whom I don’t know, who by their unfamiliarity alone may seem “safer” or “better”—more pious, more erudite, more accepting or more important.
Copyright 2016 Carolyn Astfalk
Carolyn Astfalk is a wife, mother of four young children, and a writer. Her debut novel Stay With Me, a contemporary Theology of the Body romance from Full Quiver Publishing, is available at Amazon.com. She blogs at My Scribbler’s Heart. Visit carolynastfalk.com.