for Sunday, January 31, 2016
The readings today show us that Jesus is the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecy of Jeremiah. The great prophets of the Old Testament were able to foresee although probably without complete clarity. It is as if today we were to prophecy that in the future there will be peace if people return to God. That is a prophecy that any of us could make. The Old Testament prophets were so convinced of God's involvement in the world that they had complete confidence that God will win in the end and that people will return to Him. We need to look at our faith in this regard. Do we really trust that God is acting in our world? Do we really believe that God is more powerful than all of the negative and even evil forces that now seem to work in our world? Jeremiah invites us to trust more deeply: for him, a Savior will come. For us, a Savior has come.
The Gospel continues the story of the beginning of the public ministry of our Lord Jesus. The reading last Sunday was the Baptism of the Lord, now we take up His life after the Baptism. Jesus begins to perform miracles but He also is a man who speaks the truth. Clearly Jesus has not done miracles in Nazareth and the people want to know why. When He tells them the truth - that they do not believe in Him - then they become enraged and try to kill Him. This is probably not the best beginning for a public ministry but this same pattern will continue until Jesus is actually killed.
Jesus does the works that the prophets foretold. By doing those works, He eventually angers more and more people or causes them to stop believing because they cannot believe all that He says. We can look ahead to his triumphal entry in Jerusalem, when so many of His followers believed Him. And yet shortly after that, when He is condemned and dies, almost all abandon any belief.
The Cross of our Lord. This is a stumbling block and causes all kinds of problems for people who might want to believe. The freedom of Jesus causes others to stop believing. Those who want to keep everything under control and not let anything unusual happen cannot believe. And you? And me? Can we believe? Do we believe? Are we ready to follow our Lord and die with Him?
The First Letter to the Corinthians gives us the path on which to walk today: Love God and love all other people. Serve God and serve others. This letter gives us clear advice of what love means - and it does not sound like the love we hear about in our present cultures. This is a love that always seeks the good of the other - not my good nor my happy feelings. Sisters and brothers, let us love the Lord and one another. Faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Jeremiah 1.4-5, 17-19
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12.31 - 13.13
Gospel: Luke 4.21-30
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: