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SUNDAY REFLECTION

We gather together today to worship the Lord, as faithful people have done throughout history.  Two noteworthy examples are described in our readings.  When Ezra the priest read the Torah in the streets of Jerusalem after the Jewish people had returned from exile, it brought people to tears.  When Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah in his hometown synagogue, he revealed that he himself was the fulfillment of that passage.  As we worship today on this ordinary day in Ordinary Time, let us consider the blessing of being able to listen to the word of God and to partake in this Eucharistic feast.

​​​​​ THE SYNAGOGUE SERMON

The mission of Jesus is expressed with great force in today’s Gospel. The Spirit that had come upon him in the Jordan River was leading him to proclaim a message and a way of life to teach. He had moved away from home and had made such an impression that word about him had got back to his home place of Nazareth.  We are told that he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, as he usually did… and announced the start of a new age!

His sermon would be understood by anyone who was familiar with the words of the prophets. Isaiah had stated clearly what would happen when the Messiah came. Jesus read that wonderful passage to them, then rolled up the scroll and announced, “Today these words are coming true even as I speak.” When he announced that he had come to replace the old Jewish love of law with a new law of love, it caused quite a commotion. At first, we are told that everyone was pleased with his basic message; but in next Sunday’s gospel, we hear how this encounter ended up. Not too well, actually, but you’ll have to tune into the next episode next week!

Human nature has some in-built resistance to God that results from original sin. There is some basic rebelliousness within us, a stubborn pride leading to the blindness and the oppression spoken of in today’s gospel. By myself it is impossible for me to lift myself out of the quicksand of my own selfishness. But Jesus has come to join me, to lead me, to save me, and this is the powerful Good News announced in the Nazareth Synagogue.

 

Gospel: Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.

Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

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