Gospel Reading: Luke 4:24-30
Jesus said to the people of Nazareth, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. But passing through the midst of them he went away.
In today’s Gospel, we hear about how the people of Nazareth reacted to Jesus’ words. They were initially impressed by his teachings but quickly turned against him when he challenged their assumptions about who God favored. Jesus reminded them of the widow in Sidon whom Elijah helped and the Syrian Naaman whom Elisha cured of leprosy, both of whom were outsiders.
The people of Nazareth were enraged by this, and they tried to kill Jesus. This response shows us how easily we can become blinded by our own prejudices and biases. We can become so attached to our own beliefs and traditions that we reject anything that challenges them, even if it comes from God.
However, Jesus did not back down from the truth, even when it was difficult. He knew that his message was not always going to be well-received, but he continued to speak it anyway. He was willing to face rejection and even death for the sake of the truth.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to do the same. We must be willing to speak the truth, even when it is unpopular or uncomfortable. We must be willing to challenge our own assumptions and prejudices, and to be open to the ways in which God is working in the world, even if it comes from unexpected places.
Dear Jesus, we pray for the courage to speak the truth, even when it is difficult. Help us to see beyond our own biases and prejudices and to be open to the ways in which you are working in the world. We pray for those who are persecuted for speaking the truth, that they may find strength and courage in you. We ask for your guidance and wisdom as we seek to follow you and to live out your message of love and truth. Amen.