Reflection for Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C 2022

Last Sunday we heard Jesus proclaim his mission to the people of his hometown with the words of Isaiah, ” he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind , and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord. ” In today’s Gospel we listen to the people’s reaction to his proclamation. When Jesus told them that being from his hometown would not gain privilege for them, that he was sent to all the poor, they became angry and tried to hurl him over the edge of the hill. Jesus went straight through their midst and walked away.
In the first reading we hear of Jeremiah’s call to be a prophet, to deliver the word of God to the people. Jeremiah’s message was not received with joy but with rebellion and non acceptance. In fact they try to do Jeremiah harm, but God promises to protect him. We, too, are asked to preach God’s message by word and example, but the prospect of experiencing rejection and lack of respect for what we say is Ni a comforting one.
Both Jesus and Jeremiah are asking the people to change, to respect and aid the poor and the outcast, to treat all persons with love and acceptance.
So what does it mean for us as we listen you Jesus’ words? If we have walked with Jesus, listened to his words, become aware of his priorities and values, been influenced by them and made decisions responsive to them, we may find ourselves alive from the mainstream of our culture. Our experience may resemble that of an exile, of living and feeling as if we do not bel. Both Jesus and Jeremiah may ha feld that way.
An exile is one who waits to come home and so it is important to preserve a sense of what home is. It is not just a place but a way of life in which people relate to one another as friends, sharing and caring for each other. It is a way of life to which people do not exploit each other claiming power and wealth at each other’s expense.
To live as an exile means that we hold in our hearts a promise that a different way of life is possible and that way leads us to the true homeland – the reign of God. In order to be true to that promise we must keep the vision clear and not allow it to be watered down without impact on our daily living. There is no way we can reconcile Jesus’ challenge to love one another with the attitude that all we have to do is wait for heaven. Using the hope of heaven in this way let’s us off the hook of dealing with Jesus’ call to live in such a way as to establish the reign of God ” on earth as it is in heaven “.
If we find ourselves challenged by these words, let us ask God to increase in our hearts the desire to hear the Gospel with joy. Let us answer the call Jesus makes to us on order that the reign of go may be realized in our midst.
May God bless you all
Fr. Dominic
Your brother in Christ