Reflection: 3rd February 2019

A Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

LK: 4:21-30 ( )

Jesus saw that there was little or no faith in the hearts of his own people.  Speaking in the synagogue at Nazareth turned out for Him to be a great disappointment.   But he knew already that "no prophet is ever accepted in his own country." 

Although the people were "astonished at the gracious words that fell from his lips" and "he won the approval of all", their response soon turned sour. 

They knew that he was one of their own but now wondered what he was claiming to be. Jesus anticipated their questions:  "No doubt you will say to me "Physician, heal yourself," and brought their attention to a feeling of jealousy which they had, because they were aware of the miracles he had worked in Capernaum, so “why did he not do the same in his own home-town?”   He said, "I tell you solemnly, (an expression that is used only six times in Luke’s Gospel) no prophet is ever accepted in his own country."   

To bring home his point, Jesus refers them to the time of the ancient prophets who performed miracles at the request of two foreigners, implying that there was no faith among the people of Israel.   This touched a nerve.   

St. Luke tells us: "When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged."   What did they do?   "They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town."

The events in Nazareth are dramatic.   We see here the divine drama.   God has come to his people and is rejected.   Today the challenge is the same: to accept the teaching of Jesus in its purity or to reject it.


Tom Raftery C.S.Sp. – Ordained in 1959, Fr. Tom spent some 50 years in west Africa (Ghana and Sierra Leone). He has also served in the education area in Ireland and is currently a member of the Spiritan community attached to Templeogue College.