January 30, 2010


4th Sunday - C
Luke 4:21-30

Human Expectations and Demands

In the beginning of the Gospel passage, the people of Nazareth are thrilled with Jesus' words. St. Luke reports, "All spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth." (4:22)

But they want action, and they want it their way. So they demand, "Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum." (4:23)

And that marks the beginning of the downfall of the people of Nazareth. Because of their expectations and demands, they want Jesus to do things their way. When their expectations and demands are not met and the initial thrills are over, they can no longer accept Jesus' words. They even want to kill him.

Because of their attitude, "Jesus will never again return to Nazareth." In fact, he moves to Capernaum. There, and elsewhere, he'll performs miracles, but never in Nazareth. [1]

[1] Francis J Moloney, SDB. The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections on the Gospel Readings - Year C. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1994, p. 122.

January 23, 2010


3rd Sunday - C
Luke 1:1-4;4:14-21

Today, in This Place, To This People "This Scripture Passage is Fulfilled"

Jesus returns to Nazareth, where he has grown up (1:16). And what is Nazareth? It's not that significant a town, since one of Jesus' comptemporaries later asks, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" (John 1:46).

Yet, it is in Nazareth, in that humble town, Jesus proclaims the dawn of the Kingdom of God.

The message is for all people, including the residents of Nazareth. These very people do not seem to even deserve it. In fact, they reject Jesus and his message. Shortly after Jesus proclaims this message to them, St. Luke reports, "They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away" (4:29-30).

And the message of God's Kingdom is to be fulfilled today.

We, followers of Christ, children of God through baptism, are both the messengers and recipients of this message of God's Kingdom. In our lives, whoever we are, no matter where we are, God's message is fulfilled today.

3rd Sunday - C

Image courtesy of simonhoadalat.com


January 9, 2010


Baptism of the Lord
Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

The Way God Prepares Things

The Gospel for the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, in a sense, brings to a close the first part of Luke's Gospel. The end of the story of Jesus' birth and childhood is the beginning of the reports on his adult life.

Here, John the Baptist fulfills his mission, the mission the angel told his father with the announcement of his conception (Luke 1:16-17).

And here, John testifies to all the presence of the Messiah. God affirms that testimony by publically announcing that Jesus is God's beloved Son. This message previously was made known privately to Mary, Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna (Luke chapters 1 & 2).

That is a brief example of how God plans, prepares, and "in the fullness of time" fulfills God's plan of love and salvation.

In the same way, nothing in our lives is accidental. We are God's beloved sons and daughters. And God prepares well to make that happen.

I should ask myself, "Do I believe that God has a unique plan for me?" and "Do I believe that God prepares me well for that plan?"

[1] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991. p. 67.

Baptism of the Lord (January 10, 2010)

(Baptism of the Lord by Murillo, http://sognodargento.blogspot.com)


Matthew 2:1-12

In Bethlehem, not Jerusalem

The Magi come looking for "the newborn King of the Jews" in Jerusalem. That's understandable, since Jerusalem is the capital city and center of Judaism.

Bethlehem, on the other hand, is "least among the rulers of Judah" on any human standard. It only becomes significant because God has intended for the ruler and shepherd of Israel to be born there.

How often do we overlook the simple and ordinary events and people in our lives? Do we consider as prerequisites certain grandiocity by human standards in terms of background, connections, education, social status before we can do good?

Jesus, after all, is born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem.