September 2, 2013

The Gospel Today 

Monday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Lk. 4:16-30

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll,
he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb,
‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”
And he said,
“Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

Reflection (Sem. Alfredo Dimaano):

     Rejection of any kind hurts. It gives me an impression that I am not accepted, not worthy enough, and insignificant. The worst experience might be is when it is those close to you, friends or family, to do so. More so, when the rejection is because of simply telling what is the truth.

     In my previous work, I decided to leave an office to ease the tension between me and an officemate whom I questioned for some inconsistencies. I had to transfer to another branch away from home and for me, that was a form of indirect rejection.

     Jesus was rejected in the same way by his townspeople at Nazareth for he spoke of the truth. Because of their doubt in him, no miracle was possible. We all share in the prophetic mission of Christ. To be a prophet means saying what ought to be said, whether they are hurting or sweet in the ears. To be a prophet is to announce the Good News to the world: no other than Jesus. We have heard of witnesses in criminal courts trying to tell the truth even if they would sometimes put their lives in harm’s way. We have seen simple government employees testifying against a big boss just to correct the “under the table transaction” happening in their office. Countless were those who were simply killed for exposing the truth. When the truth is revealed, other people are placed in a bad light. That was what happened to Jesus: his righteousness was a clear opposition of the lives of those who persecute him. His goodness magnifies their hypocrisies. For one trying to follow Christ, I am invited to witness to the truth, no matter what the cost, be it rejection or condemnation.

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