January 31, 2016

The Gospel Today

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 4:21-30

Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying:
“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, “Isn’t this 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 Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.

Reflection (Sem. Mark Ian V. Abu)

1.31I remember the words of St. Francis de Sales: “If you cannot say something good, better not to say anything.” This helped me to look inside my heart and evaluate the way I relate with others. The Gospel today presents the people doubting the power and authority of Jesus. Yet, He continues to show them love as what is written by St. Paul to the Corinthians, “Love excuses, believes, hopes and endures all things”(1 Cor. 13:13).

In connection with speaking of kind words to others, silence will also be important. Silence can be both ordinary and profound, the fundamental silence out of which words come and to which they return. When we were born, we didn’t know any words to say yet it was our experiences and relationships with other people that taught us to talk.

Many times we share our feelings and insights with other people and we want them to listen to us. We have learned many words already and for this we always want to talk. Together with the many words that we have learned, we have also memories of important silence in our lives. We can have the experience of great joy that we cannot explain and we will just close our eyes and keep silent.

There can be also be special moments when our words cannot express what we are feeling and we just keep quiet for some time. Yet, there are also part of our experience that makes us very sad and disappointed. We want to shout but we cannot and we just decide to go to our room, lie on the bed, cry and keep silent.

At such moments, we don’t choose silence but we just fall silent. Silence, like love, is not something we reason our way into. And once we are into it, we recognize that it has been there all along.

Learning to say good things is possible not only through books, it is already within us. All we need to do is have time to be silent and empty ourselves of everything, giving way to the grace of God to really dwell and reign in us.

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