ARE WE DENYING HIS POWER AND DESIRE TO HEAL US?
(A biblical refection on the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C], 31 January 2016)
Gospel Reading: Luke 4:21-30
First Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19; Psalms: Psalm 71:1-6,15-17; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 12:31-13:13
And He began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 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?” And He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to Me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here also in you own country.’” And He said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 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. But passing through the midst of them He went away. (Luke 4:21-30 RSV)
We may be tempted to feel a little indignant as we read about the people of Nazareth’s attempt to silence Jesus. Didn’t they recognize who He really was? But we would do better to ask ourselves whether we do not also try to silence Jesus. Are there areas of darkness in our hearts that we don’t think He can heal? If we don’t turn these areas over to Jesus, we are denying who He is, denying His power and desire to heal us. Every day, Jesus waits for us to open our hearts to Him and trust Him to change not only the weaknesses that seem easy to fix but also the ones that seem more complicated.
Are there areas of sin in our lives that we prefer to hold on to – areas where we are not yet willing to change? If so, those are places where in practice we are denying who Jesus is by not allowing Him to be truly our Lord and Savior. By keeping ourselves apart from Him, we are not acknowledging Him as the Holy One whose judgments are true and whose justice is perfect.
Even when the residents of Nazareth were ready to throw Jesus off the cliff, He looked on them with compassion. These were His relatives and neighbors, and He loved them. He knew them better than they knew themselves, and still He accepted them. He must have prayed every day that their hearts would be open to His word.
Jesus looks with compassion and understanding on us also. If we find ourselves bound by some sin, He asks us to open our hearts as best we are able and let Him change us. If we are carrying a burden that seems too big even for Him, He asks us to try to lay it down at His feet. He longs to see us put our trust in Him.
This week, let’s choose just one area in our lives where we will listen more closely to the Lord and not shut Him out. Stick with that area and watch the Lord work. Let Him make a saint out of each and every one of us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I surrender my life to You anew. Break down the wall I have built around my heart. Come in, Lord, and bring Your freedom and life. Amen.
Jakarta, 29 January 2016
A Christian Pilgrim