Casting Out Jesus

Luke 4: 24-30
2 Kgs 5:1-15 / Psa 42

No prophet is accepted in his own native place.
(Luke 4:24)

We cast Jesus from His ‘native place’
Everytime we give in to sin;
If we want to imitate His ways,
Then let Christ our Lord live within.

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own native place. In truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was closed for three and a half years, and a great famine spread over all the land; and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to a widow in Zarephath, in the land of Sidon. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; but none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with fury. They rose up and drove him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, that they might throw him down headlong. But passing through the midst of them Jesus went away. (Luke 4: 24-30)

Reflection

The Jews were angered by the idea that the pagans were more favored by God than them, since they had always believed that as God’s “Chosen People”, Judaism was the true faith. But as Jesus had prophesied, and as the Old Testament had prefigured in the cases of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, the true faith (Christianity) would be given to all the peoples of the world outside Judaism who would accept Him as the Son of God and their Savior.

Even today, the Gospel message of Jesus Christ continue to be rejected by many nations where Christianity remains anathema to them. And even in our own “native place”, have you noticed how friends and close relatives become uneasy when we try to bring up the subject of Jesus and His message of salvation, or talk about some topics in the Bible in relation to our daily living? Jesus talked about the same kind of rejection that Elijah and Elisha experienced with their own people, and the consequence that their miracles were instead performed for pagans outside Israel. He Himself was not accepted in His own town of Nazareth, and therefore performed little miracles of healing there.

Still, the other message that we can glean in today’s Gospel passage seems to be that when God calls us to be His prophets, we cannot do anything but respond to that call. Having received this gift of faith, we cannot help but spread God’s Word, particularly to those who are dear to us, especially during this Lenten season. Just as the early martyrs suffered persecution as God’s beacons of salvation, we who have received the fire from the Holy Spirit must in a smaller way suffer some humiliation from our relatives and friends for the sake of the Gospel. Speaking about Christ and His Gospel values may not be hot topics in today’s modern world, but being faithful to the Word of God was never meant to be an easy mission for the true followers of Jesus.

It is easy for people to be cynical when they are familiar with us, especially when they know our sinful past. But our conversion and renewed life is precisely the kind of testimony that the Holy Spirit will employ to bring others to His fold. As long as we persevere and are consistent in our commitment, people close to us will forget or forgive our past, and will eventually listen and believe our witnessing.

Father God, we know we were also guilty of rejecting Jesus, and not accepting Him in His native place, which is our heart, when we were in the state of sin. But You have helped us remain faithful to all Your commandments, so now may He always live within. Amen.

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