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Monday, March 16, 2009

No prophet is accepted in his own town

The opening prayer for today's liturgy is: "God of mercy free your church from sin and protect it from evil. Guide us, for we cannot be saved without you."

In the Gospel (Luke 4:24-30), Jesus reminds those in the synagogue in his own home town, Nazareth, that "no prophet is accepted in his own native place." He gives them the example of the widow in the land of Sidon who was helped by Elijah, although there were many widows in Israel; and then the example of the many lepers in Israel, but Elisha only took care of curing the Syrian, Naaman. When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of 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."

Imagine how Jesus feels; his people, those of his own hometown, want to kill him. He who had lived among them helping and befriending them is now driven out of town. This was his home and they want to cast him off, hurl him over a cliff. They turned against him. "But Jesus passed through their midst and went away."

Psalm 42 is one I love: "As the deer longs for the running waters, so my soul longs for you, O God." The response is "Athrist is my soul for the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God?" It would make a good prayer to repeat as we go about today.

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