Reflection: 27th January 2019

A Reflection for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lk: 1: 1-4, 4:14-21. ( )

Preaching in his home town of Nazareth, Jesus says "He has sent me to proclaim release to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…" etc.  And "As the Father sent me, so am I sending you."

Jesus is talking to us and he will say, "I will send you like lambs among wolves".

It is still addressed to us and I begin to reflect, “What have I done to heal? Did I go among the wolves?”

Often when I was chaplain at the University of Nairobi a few students were ill, one way or another. The big hospital was Kenyatta National Hospital which had an annex called 'Infectious Diseases'. I visited there about once a week and I believe that every mentionable disease was to be found there. But it was not a place for broken arms or flat feet!

On entering I would usually hear a voice saying, “It's Father Tom.”  They came down the ward to meet me, some jumping out of bed. I got a very sincere handshake from all and sometimes a good hug. One cannot refuse or even hesitate to greet in Africa. No gel for washing hands or HSE supervision!

I brought them daily papers. Before leaving we stood in a group and prayed. On arriving home, if I was met by a confrère, I would shout "Don't touch me until I have had a good wash".  It seems I survived!

Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth does not speak about organising a new religion or a more respectable liturgy but he speaks of bringing liberation, hope, peace and compassion to the weakest, the poorest and the marginalised.

We are called and we are sent among wolves.

Tom McDonald C.S.Sp. - Fr. Tom spent many years on mission in Kenya. Anthropology is his speciality and he has lectured in both Kenya and Ireland. He is currently a chaplain in St. Michael’s Hospital, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.