Thursday after Epiphany
Jesus in Nazareth
A priest once made a comment and said, “If only everybody in the church would speak and share about themselves as Christians more often and with pride, I believe there would be no need to give homilies and sermons on Sundays.” This is very true.
In today’s gospel, Jesus is back in Nazareth and attends the Sabbath Service. An official of the synagogue could invite any willing adult Jewish man to read the Scripture of the day and deliver a homily on it. The reading of a definitive book is determined by the season but the scripture passage to be read and delivered a homily is left to the choice of the preacher. Today Jesus accepts this invitation. And He is about to start His public life also. Before He does, He presents to the people His program of ministry. He tells the people who He is that He is the Anointed One, the Christ and the Messiah and what He wants to do. I do not know if this is accidental or intentional, He read that part of the book of the prophet Isaiah that says: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord,” (Lk 4:18-19; Is. 61:1-2). This is His program of ministry. That He comes to proclaim the Good News of salvation; to free us from the captivity of sin; to open our eyes and free us from spiritual blindness.
But Jesus’ program of ministry is ours too. As His disciples, we are to continue His program of ministry of proclaiming the Good News of salvation, to open the eyes of those who are spiritually blind, to liberate those who are bound to sin and even to contribute to the social and political liberation of the poor or needy, deprived, oppressed and the exploited.
Also, Jesus is never silent wherever there is an occasion to speak, with pride and sincerity, before the people about God and His relationship with Him. How about us, can we easily and faithfully speak of our faith in God to others? To tell you frankly, many of us are not so open and aggressive in sharing our faith as other churches do. We are afraid to impose our faith on others and defend it. Many of us are not even familiar and knowledgeable with the Bible and dogmas and doctrine of our faith. Somebody said that in most cases, we have become more critical with some of them rather than making effort to learn and understand them better. At times, we speak more of ourselves as one who goes to Mass very often but seldom do we speak of what we have learned from the Mass and the gospel.
It is also our mission not to give up on loving, not to give up our goodness even if the people around us don’t reciprocate it. Let us take time to read and reflect this story if we feel giving up loving and giving up our goodness. There was this Hindu who saw a scorpion floundering around in the water. He decided to save it by stretching out his finger but the scorpion stung him. The man still tried to get the scorpion out of the water but the scorpion stung him again.
A man nearby told him to stop saving the scorpion that kept stinging him but the Hindu said: “it is the nature of the scorpion to sting. It is my nature to love. Why should I give up my nature to love just because it is the nature of the scorpion to sting?”
God needs us to speak and to bring Him more to others.