The Gospel Today
Monday of the Third Week of Lent
Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:
“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. Rodel D. Aclan)
Clearly, what Jesus said before the people in the synagogue at Nazareth did not sit well with them. They tried to harm Him because of it. What could be with those words that they got angry with Jesus? He only spoke the truth; we can say that He just stated historical facts because what he said really happened in the history of their nation. Why did they get angry with Him?
They got angry with Jesus precisely because of the facts or the truth that He said before them. The truth revealed their shortcomings before the Lord. And as they say, truth hurts. When they got hurt, they wanted to retaliate. They wanted to throw away the truth or kill it – as well as the messenger – if they could.
As I reflected on the message of this Gospel, I remember how I responded to the truth, especially to the truth that was against me, the truth that showed my mistakes, weaknesses and excesses as a person. These are the truths that can hurt me because they touch my ego and pride, and my sense of self. I realized that my reaction when confronted by truth was not far from that of the people of Nazareth, I also wanted to throw the truth away from me. I got angry with the messenger of the truth.
I believe that the Gospel today is inviting me to be humble. Acceptance of truth demands humility, whether the truth is against or in favor of me. I have to be humble to accept my weaknesses and failures as a person while persevering to be better. I cannot hide or just throw away the truth of my imperfections.
On the other hand, the truth that shows my better side must also be accepted with humility. For any boastful acknowledgement of them will only feed my egoistic tendencies and self-centeredness. Thus, as a priest-in-process who wants to be with Jesus and be like Jesus, I cannot be an enemy of truth, because Jesus as Light will reveal the truth of my person, my bad and better side. Hiding or throwing away the truth is like an attempt to throw Jesus, just like what the people of Nazareth wanted to do with Him. To deny the truth is to deny Jesus because He is the Ultimate Truth.