Thursday, 28th August 2014

Click Icon to Share this post

Share

 

 

February 02,2013 12:46 AM

By: Fr. Czar Emmanuel Alvarez, O.S.A.

4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Gospel Reading: Luke 4:21-30

TODAY’S Gospel reading narrates the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. He started by preaching in the small village of Nazareth in Galilee (in present-day Northern Israel).

The New Testament presents it as the hometown of Jesus (cf. Lk 2:39-40) and the place where the Blessed Virgin Mary had received the Archangel Gabriel’s annunciation (cf. Lk 1:26-38). It was also where the Holy Family settled after their return from Egypt, where they fled to save the child Jesus from King Herod’s persecution (cf. Mt 2:19-23).

 

There are passages in the Gospels that present Nazareth in a rather negative light. Nathaniel, for example, once asked: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (Jn 1:46) According to Mk 6:5, Jesus once could not perform a miracle there because of its inhabitants’ lack of faith in him. Even if the Lord grew up in Nazareth, his so-called “brothers” did not believe in him (cf. Jn 7:5). Today’s Gospel also reflects the Nazarenes’ proclivity to anger as they “sprang to their feet and hustled [Jesus] out of the town … intending to throw him down the cliff” (v.29).

All of these negative descriptions of Nazareth and its people are quite surprising considering that, from the archeological point of view, the town was apparently abandoned after the Assyrians destroyed the northern territories in ca. 720 BC and, unlike Samaria, was never inhabited or “contaminated” by pagan or non-Jewish nations. Possibly the evangelists generalized their negative attitude and extended it to include the entire region of the north because of what happened to Samaria during the Assyrian occupation, when the local inhabitants of the place were sent to exile and pagan nations were introduced instead to replace them. For the Jews, who considered themselves as “pure,” this event brought about the “contamination” of the Samarians and, by extension, of the “Northerners” (including the people of Nazareth).

The evangelists’ prejudice towards the Nazarenes is concretely expressed by presenting the latter as a people who rejected even the prophets, messengers of God. In the present case, we have the rejection of Jesus himself even by his own people. Thus he says: “I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country” (v.24). This theme of the “rejected prophet” is common in many New Testament texts, particularly in the writings of Saint Luke (cf. Lk 6:22-23; 11:49-51; 13:34-35; Acts 7:35.51-52; etc.).

Why was Jesus rejected by his own people? Remember that during that time, the Nazarenes were also Jews, who believed that God’s gift of salvation was restricted to them. When Christ presented two cases of non-Jews or pagans to whom God had shown a particular favor in the past – namely, a widow at Zarephath in Sidon (cf. 1Kgs 17:9) and the Syrian king Naaman (cf. 2Kgs 5:14) – the Nazarenes were enraged and wanted to kill him. They simply could not accept the fact that God could show mercy also to the Gentiles.

The tendency to think like the Jews in our Gospel reading continues to exist among us even today. Thus, we sometimes consider ourselves as somewhat more “privileged” compared with other people around us. And such exclusivist mentality can manifest itself in various forms of discrimination and hostile behaviors. Recent history gives us concrete examples of atrocities committed by a nation or a group of people who considered themselves as a “superior race.” Think of the Nazis during World War II, for example. We do not even have to look far or refer to distant past to verify this. In the Philippine society today, the ever-widening gap between the “privileged” and the “less privileged” or between the “fortunate” and the “unfortunate” suffices to demonstrate the negative consequences of such a mentality.

Our Gospel today puts us on guard against any form of prejudice, bias and discrimination, and reminds us of our all being equal in God’s eyes. Saint Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, says: “You are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptized in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:26-28). And since we are all equal in God’s eyes, then we all have the same possibility to be forgiven and saved by him. The Jews of Jesus’ time failed to understand this. Let us try not to become like them. Let us learn from their mistake and uphold instead the Gospel values of equality, unconditional love, reciprocal acceptance, mutual understanding, and justice.

 

 

 

Opinion new Banner
Click image for full view
Taxing our sanity

August 28, 2014 12:50 AM

By: Lucell Larawan

A PUN for unreasonable taxes: “The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin (Mark Twain)”.

Read more...
No reserve?

August 28, 2014 12:48 AM

By: Modesto P. Sao-noy

THE SUGAR Regulatory Administration has already released its classification of Philippine sugar production. There are three classifications: “A” for the US quota (5%), “B” for the domestic market (90%) and “D” for the world market (5%). Read more...

BPI Official Statement on Suits Filed by Jose Marie Sy

August 28, 2014 12:46 AM

ON JUNE 9, 2014, Mr. Jose Marie Sy, a client of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), filed a civil suit allegedly for damages against BPI. Read more...

SC verdict on ‘hulbot-hulbot’ ban a big win for Defensor

August 28, 2014 12:44 AM

By: Alex P. Vidal

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”- Henry David Thoreau

WE ARE glad that Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. also mentioned, albeit briefly, Read more...

A funny Ombudsman story that won’t go away

August 28, 2014 12:42 AM

By: Peter G. Jimenea

IN 2001, the Iloilo City government floated a P120-million bond for the construction of 413 houses for city hall employees. Read more...

From digital to personal

August 28, 2014 12:40 AM

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE need to be aware of the dangers of some aspects of our fast-growing digital culture. More than that, we need to be adequately equipped to handle those dangers before they come, when they come and after they have come. Read more...

Negros News New Banner
Sports News New Banner
Business News New Banner
Community Events new Banner
About Us New banner
Foreign Exchange New Banner
order Newspaper New Banner
Order newspaper
interval banner