When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’”
And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon.
There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Jesus reads, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor . . .” Then he concludes, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” In this passage from Luke Jesus reveals that he understands himself and his mission. Jesus isn’t afraid to be who he is regardless of the reactions of others. Some will revere him, some will ignore him, and some will undoubtedly reject him because “no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.” The townspeople have a hard time accepting Jesus for who he is, the anointed, the Messiah. Jesus does not try to explain or convince people. He doesn’t beg others to follow or believe him. In fact, after accepting the outcome of his message, Jesus simply “went on his way.”
If only I were as sure about myself and my vocation as Jesus appears to be in Luke’s gospel. I know the Holy Spirit is with me, but I forget. I know God sends me forth each day to be a person who loves, forgives, and helps . . . but I forget. Perhaps if I prayed with and read scripture more often, like Jesus does in this passage, I might remember. And then, when the outcomes aren’t what I hope for, I might be better able to accept things and go on my way.
How can we build reading and praying with scripture into our day? What should we accept and leave behind so that we can better live out our vocation?
—Sharron Deax Hanisch earned a Master of Theological Studies degree from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (formerly Weston Jesuit School of Theology). She is the mother of four children and a teacher at the School of Lectio Divina, St. Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK
Prayer to do God’s will
Lord Grant that I may always allow myself to be guided by you, always follow your plans, and perfectly accomplish your holy will.
Grant that in all things, great and small, today and all the days of my life, I may do whatever you require of me.
Help me to respond to the slightest prompting of your grace so that I may be your trustworthy instrument of your honor.
May your will be done in time and eternity- by me, in me, and through me.
— St. Teresa of Avila