January 30, 2022 Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Welcome Father Martin Today’s Readings: Jer 1:4-5, 17-19 | 1 Cor 12:31—13:13 | Lk 4:21-30

Contemplating the scriptural readings of today we are able to perceive how God manifests His Divine love in a very personal way. Through the incarnation in Jesus Christ, God came to dwell among us. What great love God has for us, that He set aside His divinity, took human form upon Himself, and dwelled in our midst so we may come to know Him as He truly is, holy, perfect, eternal, merciful, forgiving, etc… There is no other like Him. St John in his Gospel explains the depth of God’s love which is sacrificial love and an all-understanding event. It grants eternal life in and through him. When God came down to dwell among us, all did not accept the manifestation of His Divine love. In the Old Testament, we see how the prophets were rejected in their hometown and by their own people. Now Jesus also experiences similar rejection by his own town’s men. In the eyes of the people of His hometown, He did not meet their standards. Because they knew Him since His childhood, He was nothing special to them. This is true of all human situations where familiarity with the person does not allow a person to see beyond what is utterly human.

The word of God tells us that the Son of God came to earth and took on flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary in order to save all men. But who has the greatest need for salvation? Is it not those who do not yet have any link to God, the True, and the only? The Jewish People had been elected by God to be his People: already, the fact of being Jewish established in them a certain link to God, a link of the corporeal order. Furthermore, he who was not Jewish lacked this link. But when the Son of God came to earth, he brought with his grace, a created divine good, which was capable of establishing between God and any man or woman a link of the spiritual order. For John says that the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus.

The grace of God is almighty, and the words of grace that Jesus speaks to the inhabitants of his village truly have the power to convince everyone of this astounding fact: Jesus, one of their own, is not the only man but also, and first, God. However, a man, any man or woman, remains free with respect to the almighty grace of God: this is the Mystery of Love, this is the very Mystery of God! Now, Jesus knew in advance that the inhabitants of Nazareth would reject him, as Saint John wrote, speaking in a general manner: “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.” This is why Jesus does not intend to perform many miracles in order to try to prove his divinity: a miracle is an exemption from the laws of nature, and God does not produce miracles in vain, for what he has created is good and perfect in itself, even if man and sin have corrupted this initial creation.

This is the contradiction or paradox: the more loving we are, the more people our love embraces as we transcend labels and prejudices dividing people, the more likely we will be rejected, persecuted, and hated – even by ‘religious’ people. On the one hand, the message of Truth and Love has been rejected and has been attacked and abused but people have experienced a special strength to carry on. As the life of Jesus clearly indicates, there is a price to be paid for being a person of love but it is a price well worth paying. When the grace of God is offered to us, let us seize it! Let us fear that the grace of God may pass us by, never to return … ever. In fact, the grace of God is destined for both the Jews and the pagan Nations. The first Disciples of Christ, the Apostles, were all Jews. Jesus did not want to reject his People, but rather he wanted grace to dominate in them, he wanted the corporeal link they had with God to be dominated by a link of a higher order, a spiritual one, that of grace.

The Parish Priest decided to visit one of his parishioners who had stopped coming to church. The priest found John in his garden under hot sun taking care of his roses and vegetables. Understanding the purpose of the visit of the Pastor John said: “Father, you tell us and he is correct. Then going around the garden he told John, my friend, you have some fine roses. That God knows everything. He knows my name, my existence, and whether my soul will be saved or damned.” It is true said the priest. He knows us all and the whole universe. Then said John what is the use of my coming for mass and all the boring service since God knows all and it is already destined. The priest told him that he has a really good point and he agreed with him. Then going around the garden the priest said, John, you have nice roses here and the vegetables look great. John felt proud and said that he takes good care day and night. Then the priest said look John we agreed that God knows all and all the future and past is known to him. Yes nodded John. If God knows all things why do you slog? He knows where your vegetables go and where the roses will reach tomorrow. Why do you slog then when all is determined by God? The man kept quiet. Next Sunday he was kneeling on the front row in the church.

Source: https://msjnov.wordpress.com/2022/01/23/fourth-sunday-of-the-year-january-30-2022/ Image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/67/GaudenzioFerrari_StorieCristo_Varallo2.jpg/320px-GaudenzioFerrari_StorieCristo_Varallo2.jpg