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Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. Aug 31, 2009 - Monday Meditation (Jesus the Anointed One : Annoying?)
Aug 31, 2009 - Monday Meditation (Jesus the Anointed One : Annoying?) PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - The Daily B.R.E.A.D.
Sunday, 30 August 2009 16:27

He already has a reputation for preaching with authority and with healing the sick.  He is known to be able to perform “signs and wonders” and yet when he reads the passage of Isaiah and then claims its meaning for his own life he is rejected by the very family and friends with whom he grew up.

Monday in the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Psalm 96:1 and 3, 4-5, 11-12, 13

L uke 4:16-30  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up  to read; (17) and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, (18) "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, (19) to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." (20) And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. (21) And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." (22) And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" (23) And he said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, `Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Caper'na-um, do here also in your own country.'" (24) And he said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. (25) But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Eli'jah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; (26) and Eli'jah was sent to none of them but only to Zar'ephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. (27) And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Eli'sha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Na'aman the Syrian." (28) When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. (29) And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. (30) But passing through the midst of them he went away.

         

* Meditation by Eileen Burke-Sullivan

As we enter the closing weeks of Ordinary Time the tone of the Gospel shifts to the reality of the rejection of Jesus’ message and even of his person.  The event described in today’s Gospel seems to have taken place relatively early in Jesus’ public ministry when he returns to his native town of Nazareth and is invited to speak in the synagogue.  He already has a reputation for preaching with authority and with healing the sick.  He is known to be able to perform “signs and wonders” and yet when he reads the passage of Isaiah and then claims its meaning for his own life he is rejected by the very family and friends with whom he grew up.  He speaks with the same authority as he does in other places, but the lack of faith of the listeners makes it impossible for him to exercise the authority of God’s Spirit that fills him in order to rescue them from their blindness, deafness, or hardheartedness.

 

Many insights can perhaps be drawn from this text.  Certainly insights about Jesus and his ministry and insights into the ministry of the baptized who, in union with Jesus, are filled with the Spirit of God to announce good news to the poor and to set captives free.  But one that struck me today was the importance of not closing off the possibility of God using any messenger God selects to speak the Divine desire to our hearts.  It is a classic ploy of literature to use the least likely messenger to communicate the most urgent message of grace.  But if our hearts are closed to the messenger – convinced that he or she is stupid, ordinary or just plain wrong headed – we may miss the power and goodness of the message.

 

I recall vividly working with a young priest when I was also quite a bit younger.  This newly ordained gentleman had both a newly minted academic degree and the oils of ordination were barely dried on his hands and head.  Further he seemed to me to act in a manner that could fairly be described as arrogant.  The truth is, he could most likely have said the same about me, but I didn’t have as clear a sight of the plank in my eye as I did the splinter in his.  Our working relationship was a bit challenging to say the least.   At the time we were preparing parish workshops together and discussing the content and who would present what.  In this context he spoke one day about the understanding that he had of the power of Jesus’ resurrection.  I do not remember what he said, or even what we were talking about beyond that sort of general topic – but I do remember the jolt of lightening-like grace of insight that I received that very nearly knocked me over.  It was a theological insight so powerful and so simple.  And  I had been straining toward this wisdom, without knowing what it was I was yearning to understand.   All kinds of connections fit together and made sense of what had been seemingly random fragments of data.  I recognized it vaguely at the time as a Fourth Week grace of the Spiritual Exercises – a deep appreciation of the Resurrection as it transfigures everything else.

 

It was not until a couple of days later that I acknowledged to myself that his “authority” was a great grace for me – and my attitude toward him changed significantly.  It taught me a great deal about Paul’s insight that the Spirit prays within us even when we don’t know what to pray for, and it taught me to appreciate the prophet from the local community – who won’t be adequately appreciated by his own.  That day, the Spirit of the Lord was upon the last person I wanted to hear from, and the first person I needed to hear from – and they were one and the same.  Somehow, since I have had the grace to remember this event, I suspect that I am not now listening to someone I should be paying more attention to.  Hmm . . . just who is it that is annoying these days . . . .?

 

Supplementary Reading

Volunteering

I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead… – John 10:16

 

My poor flat feet were aching and my throat was sore from running a free workshop the entire day. “Why am I doing this? I’m not even getting paid for this!” I complained in my mind.

When you’re getting paid to do something, it’s usually easier to see its value and do a good job. You could get reprimanded, labeled inefficient or you could even lose your job. But being a volunteer puts your motives in a different light. Your job is to serve strangers — some of them less fortunate or less educated than you, and who will never be able to pay you or even thank you for your efforts.

I looked at my participants — a group of students from provincial schools. That day, I was running a workshop on prejudice and discrimination. I wanted to do my part in creating a kinder, gentler world. I listened intently as these young people shared their thoughts, struggles and resolutions.

I smiled. All of a sudden, I knew why I was doing this. Sure, it can be a thankless, exhausting job. But I believe education and empowerment are worthwhile causes. Because I believe the good must be done. Because Jesus loved me first and now I am compelled to share that love with others. Cess Cosico

 

* REFLECTION:

Have you volunteered for anything lately?

Lord, let me serve You by serving others.




GOD BLESS US ALL!
PRAY as if everything depended on HIM. ACT as if everything depended on YOU.
 
 
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Last Updated on Sunday, 30 August 2009 19:59
 
Comments (1)
1 Sunday, 30 August 2009 20:09
mabuhay
THE WORKS OF MERCY

Jesus Is merciful. We must imitate his example.

Jesus returned to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and He went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day (Gospel of the Mass (Luke 4:16-30)). There they gave him the book of the prophet Isaiah to read. He opened the book at a passage which has a clearly Messianic meaning: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

Jesus rolled up the book, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. There was a great air of expectation among his listeners, all of whom had known him from boyhood. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Very likely Our Lady too was present. Our Lord then said to them quite plainly: Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.

In this passage (cf Is 61:1-2) the prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of the Messiah to free his people from their afflictions. These words of Our Lord are, as Pope John Paul II says, his first Messianic declaration. They are followed by the actions and words known through the Gospel. By these actions and words Christ makes the Father present among men. It is very significant that the people in question are especially the poor, those without means of subsistence, those deprived of their freedom; the blind who cannot see the beauty of creation, those living with broken hearts, or suffering from social injustice, and finally sinners. It is especially for these last that the Messiah becomes a particularly clear sign of God who is love (John Paul II, Dives in misericordia, 30 November 1980, 3).

Later on, when John the Baptist’s envoys ask him if he is the Christ or if they have to wait for another, Jesus tells them to go and relate to John what they have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the good news preached to them (Luke 7:22ff).

Christ’s love for men is shown especially in his encounter with suffering, with anything in which human weakness, both physical and moral, is to be seen. It thus reveals God the Father’s untiring concern for mankind, a concern which is love (1 John 4:16) and rich in mercy (Eph 2:4).

With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at www.totusbookstore. com (info@totusbookstore .com)

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