Casting Jesus from our Heart

Luke 4: 24-30
2 Kgs 5:1-15 / Ps 42, 43

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

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

“Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, 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; and yet none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all 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 had been built, that they might throw him down headlong. But passing through the midst of them Jesus went away. (Luke 4:24-30)

Reflection

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 the prophets Elijah and Elisha experienced from their own people, and the consequence that their miracles were instead performed for people outside Israel. He Himself was not accepted in His own town of Nazareth, and therefore performed little miracles of healing there.

And yet, today’s Gospel message seems to be telling us 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 renewed life, people close to us will forget or forgive our past, and will eventually listen and believe in 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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