Monday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Luke 4:24-30

The Rejection at Nazareth


When Jesus returns to His native place, the people of Nazareth assume that since they are His compatriots, they have the rights to His miraculous powers. The sick people in His hometown should be healed before anywhere else. Jesus suggests that He has to perform miracles to all. He cites the examples of two famous prophets: Elijah, who worked a miracle to feed a widow of Zarephath in the pagan territory of Sidon when there was a famine throughout Israel, and Elisha, who cleansed Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy though he was a foreigner and therefore an enemy.

His experience of rejection by His own people foreshadows His final destiny in Jerusalem (Lk 13:33; 24:19-20). As the rejection at Nazareth propels Jesus on his mission journey so also will the rejection of the Christian message by the Jews lead to the proclamation of the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6). If Jesus’ townspeople understood the prophetic roles of Elijah and Elisha, they would have grasped the meaning of Jesus’ proclamation: the salvation that God offers goes beyond the boundaries of Jewish faith and culture. Indeed, it encompasses all peoples.

Do experiences of rejection in our apostolic work and ministry tempt up to give up? Do we find strength and courage in Jesus’ life and ministry? (Fr. Venerando Yator, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


I can imagine how frustrating it might be for Jesus who labored so hard to preach the good news of salvation only to be refused by the very people who should have benefited most from His presence among them. Worse still, at the height of their anger, they drove Him out of town with the intention of hurling Him down the cliff.

What did Jesus do that made His town mates so furious with Him? He simply told them the truth about themselves: that He could not perform miracles among them because of their lack of faith; that they were blind to the work of God in their midst because of their narrow-mindedness and they were too proud of themselves. Consequently, they were blind to God’s mercy and plan of redemption for all nations. Perhaps the most difficult for them to accept was the fact that He complimented the Gentiles who seemed to have more faith in God than the chosen one that is Israel. He put them less than the people (the Gentiles) they regarded as nobody, the people they considered fuel for the fires of hell.

The folks in the synagogue at Nazareth didn’t like the insinuation of what Jesus was saying. Basically, “you either receive Me as from the Lord, or He will judge you and go elsewhere to bless other people – even to the Gentiles.” For us, are we willing to step out in faith and tell people the truth about the Word of God? Even if it makes them angry? (Fr. Al Villarante, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


How overwhelmingly excited and grateful we feel whenever a Filipino excels in his/her own field and bring a good name to our nation.

I suppose the people of Nazareth had the same feelings when they heard Jesus in their synagogue. They were impressed and amazed how he had grown from a little simple son of Joseph the carpenter to a mature man who spoke with eloquence. He was a native. He was one of them. Now they would prefer that He did the same good things they heard he had done in other towns of Galilee.

How disappointed they were when Jesus made it clear that “a prophet is never accepted in His own native place.” He even insinuated that he would not perform any healing miracles in Nazareth as he had done in Capernaum. That was because Jesus could see through their hearts. Their initial amazement and apparent appreciation of how popular he had become were also mixed with doubt and unbelief.

How happy we were when we heard Manny Pacquiao declaring in his post-fight interviews that we have to leave our personal differences and unite as a nation. But so many Filipinos were once again disappointed when he decided to enter the world of politics. How can one unite a nation by joining partisan politics?

Jesus is the one and only true prophet sent from above who “was divine but did not deem equally with God,” (Phil 2:6). He went about His mission of gathering His flock any earthly authority or institution of power. Instead, He allowed Himself to be led by the Spirit of the Lord to the marginalized, the poor, the captives, the blind and the oppressed.

Reflect: In what way can I be a prophet and help establish a good name for our country? (Fr. Ed Fugoso, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


What happened to Jesus some 2000 years ago back in His hometown could happen again today to anybody giving advice to others in their own place. ‘No prophet is accepted in his own place,” has become a common saying whenever one’s advice is not accepted by people belonging to one’s family, friends or place. The people in Jesus’ hometown might have known Him as a child and then as a young person growing up in their place. But when Jesus preached to them, they asked: Who is He to tell us what to do and not to do? Most people do not like to be told what to do, more so often when the advice comes from people of their own kind. But God oftentimes chooses just these to let us know what to do, people like mothers, fathers, siblings, teachers or friends. The gospel serves as a reminder too to all those who want to give advice. More than words, what is needed is a life lived according to Jesus’ command such that others might follow. The story about Gandhi is very relevant. One day a somewhat desperate mother approached Gandhi and asked him to help convince her son to stop smoking. Gandhi first listened to her then, asked her to come back the following week. When the appointed time arrived, Gandhi told the woman’s son to stop- smoking. The mother, very perplexed, asked Gandhi why he had not told her son to stop smoking the week before. Gandhi’s response was simple: “Last week I could not tell your son to stop smoking because then I was still smoking myself.” Becoming a prophet acceptable in one’s own place will mean changing one’s own place will mean changing one’s own life first. (Fr. Heinz Kulueke, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


February 29, 2016 Monday

In Luke 4:24, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.” Jesus uttered these words in response to the people’s reaction to his authoritative way of reading a part of the book of the prophet Isaiah which says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce the year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn….” (Is 61:1-2, Lk 4:18-19). At the beginning, the people were amazed and they admired him for his eloquence but they started to question his authority when they realized that he was just Jesus, the Son of Mary and Joseph. As the Gospel according to Luke said, “All who were present spoke favorably of him; they marveled at the appealing discourse which came from his lips. They also ask, is not this Joseph’s son?” (Lk 4:22). It was at this point that Jesus sensed that they were questioning his authority because of his humble beginning. And he said “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place”.

If one applies for a job, one is required to submit his/her resumé, curriculum vitae and undergo a series of interviews to find out whether one is qualified for the job. And often times one has to give three persons as character references, which sometimes are more important than the curriculum vitae. As some people would say “whom you know is better than what you know”. It is here where Jesus fell short which caused his rejection by his own town mates. He was rejected because he was nobody in the society. The peoples’ appreciation of his wisdom and power was waylaid by their prejudice about him whose father was Joseph a carpenter and who did not have political, social and religious influence. Jesus’ pedigree was just too lowly for the people to accept him and listen to his teachings. Another thing which caused his town mates to reject him was envy. In the account of St Mark, the people asked, “Where did he get all these? What kind of wisdom is He endowed with?

How is it that the miraculous deeds are accomplished by his hands? Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary. . . . ?” (Mk 6:2-3). According to the standard of his town mates, Jesus, being a lowly member of the society is not supposed to possess such authority and power. But as they themselves had seen and heard, He just had such power which they themselves, who belong to the higher social strata than Jesus, did not have. They must have asked, “Why he, not me?” For them if there is anybody who should have been endowed with such power it should be them and not Jesus. Prejudice and envy, two of several hindrances that prevent us from accepting Jesus and making him rule in our lives. (Fr. Jimmy Sales, SVD | USC, Cebu City Bible Diary 2016)


Jesus is rejected in Nazareth: Our popular image of Jesus is that of a person surrounded by loving crowds. But many times Jesus was surrounded by violent crowds. Today’s reading is an example. That is why he said: “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country,” (v. 24).

Violent crowds also surrounded Jesus’ followers. The apostles were flogged (Acts 5:40). Stephen was stoned (Acts 7:58). Paul was stoned once and beaten eight times (2Cor 24-25). This reminds us of Jesus’ words in John15:20: “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.”

The gospel reminds us that we may have to suffer for our faith as Jesus did. But it also reminds not to fear. “Be brave!” says Jesus. “I have defeated the world,” (John 16:33).

Today’s reading invites us to ask ourselves: How do we respond when our faith is cast in a bad light by the media or in conversation?

Today’s reading reminds us not to give up, but to get up. (Mark Link SJ, Illustrated Daily Homilies Seasons and Feasts, India: St. Pauls, 1997:118)


My Reflection for Monday March 24, Third Week of Lent, Luke 4:24-30

Reflection: How does God give His blessings? Does God play favorites? God gives His blessings to anyone that He pleases and He surely doesn’t play the game of favoritism. Otherwise if God has favorites among us because we are prayerful or because we often go to Holy Mass and do noble acts. Our worship for God will now be motivated by our actions focused to get His favor.  Therefore our worship for God is not anymore motivated by our love for Him rather it’s now motivated by the result that we want from Him.

In our gospel Jesus shared the story of a Syrian named Naaman who was sick with leprosy. There were also many lepers in Israel around that time but the prophet Elisha choose to heal the Syrian  Naaman.

Jesus cited the story of Naaman to send a strong message to those who were listening to Him in the synagogue. That they cannot gain God’s favor by means of their selfish acts of piety. Or worship for God that has selfish motives.

This is a good point of reflection for all of us for we may be doing things for God with selfish motives.  Or we do things for God and our fellowmen because we want something in return from God.

When we do acts for God let us ensure that we primarily do it because of our deep love for God. No other motives than our deep love for God. (Marino J. Dasmarinas)


Story: This is an anecdote from the life of St. John, the apostle. He was very old and nearing the end of his earthly life. He lived in exile in the island of Patmos. He was staying in cave together with his few chosen disciples. Hundreds of Christians would come and gather around him every Sunday. Every Sunday his disciples would carry him from the cave so that he could preach to the people. Sunday after Sunday, he would repeat the same words, “Children, love one another! Children, love one another!”

One Sunday, while his disciples were carrying him back to the cave one asked him, “Master, why do keep saying the same words again and again – children love one another?” St. John answered, “Because the Lord kept on repeating it over and over again.” (Msgr. Ruperto C. Santos, Jesus Serves and Saves Us! Makati: St. Pauls, 2003: 109).


HANDLING REJECTION: “No prophet is accepted in his own native place.” – Luke 4:24

Allow me to share with you some helpful tips in handling rejection:

Acknowledge that anyone can be rejected.

Allow yourself to feel bad initially.

Do not take rejection personally.

After the rejection, look for other options to bounce back.

Try again and move forward.

In today’s Gospel story, our Lord experienced opposition and rejection. Since He was too familiar to the people around Him as the son of a carpenter, He was taken for granted. In spite of this, Jesus boldly proclaimed that He is the fulfillment of the Promise. He had no second thoughts about what He said because He was telling the truth.

As I reflect upon this story of our Lord, I’m reminded to take heart whenever I deal with rejection. I also realized that, just like the Lord, I should speak out and live out my faith, not motivated by my ego, but driven by the truth. Though we may encounter challenges and rejections in life, let us all face it with courage like Jesus did. JC Libiran (

Reflection: How do you handle rejection? Do you give up easily or do you bounce back?

Lord Jesus, grant me courage and wisdom whenever I experience rejection in my life. Amen.



1ST READING: The king of Israel is a man of very little faith, whereas Elisha is a man of great faith. Look at the difference faith can make in a person’s life. A leper is healed because of Elisha’s faith. Without Elisha the king would have remained in despair; now he can rejoice in the goodness of God to the leper and to Israel. Let us hope and pray that each time we experience or witness a miracle of God, our faith in Him will grow. (2 Kings 5:1-15)

GOSPEL: Jesus is not afraid of controversy if it is rooted in truth. We would say today that Jesus is quite willing “to call a spade a spade” if that is the truth of the matter, and then deal with the aftermath later. We, too, must be willing to embrace truth. There is nothing gained by hiding from the truth. (Luke 4:24-30)


CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH?: Ever heard of the line that says, “Better make someone cry with the truth than to make someone laugh with a lie”? Jesus comes home today to His hometown Nazareth. Apparently, not everything Jesus said was taken gladly. The people were filled with indignation to the point of expelling Him from the town. The message must have been so disturbing that they wanted to eliminate the messenger instead.

That is the nature of truth. When it is proclaimed, it never fails to strike a sympathetic chord in the heart. But truth can be threatening for it demands a corresponding action. It either affirms or convicts. Herod, for example, was attracted by the message of John but he did not have the courage to give its corresponding demands. What did he do? He put John in prison. The townmates of Jesus were so stung by His words that they wanted to hurl Him over the edge of the cliff.

God’s truth comes to us in varied ways. Through persons, situations or some sort of religious experience, the truth of God seeks us out. But like the people of Nazareth, we are afraid of truth’s demands. We do not want the self-denial and conversion it entails. And so we imprison God’s message. We leave God in a corner. We compartmentalize our lives. We confine God and make His message irrelevant to our daily lives. We let the Bible gather dust. We treat the Mass as a once-in-a-while diversion. Remember, God is a “polite” God. He can work in our lives only to the extent that we give Him “permission” to do so. This is what we mean when we say that grace builds on nature.

James Garfield is credited as saying: “The truth will make you free, but first it will make you miserable.” How true this is. Unleash the power of God in your life. Call on Him. Open your heart. Do not be afraid of truth’s demands. As Jesus assures in the Gospel, “You will discover the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: In what ways do you imprison the power of God’s message?

Lord Jesus, I don’t want to be in prison. I want to be free. Entice my heart with the beauty of Your truth and allow me to rejoice in it. Amen.


MONDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – JUAN 2:13-25. UNSAON MAN NATO PAGTAGAD ANG MGA TAWO NGA DILI SAMA KANATO’G PAGTOO? Si Jonathan Swift nag-ingon: “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” Nasulti niya kini tungod sa panag-away ug pagpinatyanay sa mga tawo tungod sa relihiyon. Ang mga relihiyon nga nagtudlo og gugma mao na hinoon ang hinungdan sa panagbingkil ug pagdumtanay sa mga tawo. Diha sa ebanghelyo, si Hesus naghisgot mahitungod kang propeta Elias nga gipadala sa Dios aron pag-atiman sa usa ka paganong biyuda ug kang propeta Eliseo nga gisugo aron pag-ayo sa pagano nga si Naaman. Dinhi gitudloan kita ni Hesus nga ang gugma sa Dios para sa tanan, dili lang para sa mga Hudiyo. Angay nga magrespetohay ang mga tawo, bisan lain-laig relihiyon, tungod kay ang tanan mga anak sa Dios. Posted by Abet Uy

February 29, 2016

REFLECTION: One of the striking things about Elisha, the man of God, is his freedom. He is not at all impressed by the fact that his visitor is none other than Naaman, a valiant, highly esteemed, respected army general who has brought victory to his country, and who comes to “buy” his cure for leprosy with “ten talents, six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments.” When Naaman arrives at Elisha’s door, he does not get down from his chariot and instead waits for the prophet to come out to him. But Elisha does not go out to greet his famous (and arrogant) visitor. He merely sends him a message through his servant. To Elisha, the great general is no more than any other man. Naaman receives no special privilege, no V.I.P. treatment, no particular attention through a private consultation. The people who are close to God enjoy the same inner freedom as Elisha. Why? Because the fact of being deeply attached to God detaches them from all that is not God. And this includes money, power, prestige, fame, youth, beauty, etc. When all is said and done, the ultimate power is love, which nothing can buy or conquer by force.


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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