This Sunday’s Gospel reading continues from Last Sunday’s, whereby Jesus begins his public ministry with a inaugural discourse in the synagogue at Nazareth. At the beginning, He receives the admiration of the people of His hometown. But things changed quickly when He began to challenge their ideas and conviction. Then rejection sets in…… He quipped: “I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country”.
Things have not changed much in our time. When we hear words pleasing to us, we accept them, but when the truth challenges our conscience, we often deny it – and we become hostile to the bearer of the truth.
I would say the Catholic Church has survived the test of time not just because She is Divine Institution, but because she has preached the Gospel ‘in season and out of season’ in many areas. Go and make a stand on basic truths like ‘marriage is between a man and a woman’’, or ‘abortion is the taking of an innocent life’, or see whether you are rejected or not. Yet, deep down in each and every one of us, we would like to think that we are the product of a mother and a father who love each other and love us.
We live in a world tarnished my sin, and sometimes the truth is obscured by the ways of the world. We Christians are called not to be a condemning voice, but a prophetic voice. The message of the Church – our message – must be what Jesus brought: one of Love and of new life. His love, poured out by the Spirit, reaches out to all; it endures all things and leads us to the Truth. We are called to participate in that love. And in that participation, we are also likely to face rejection and contradiction like our Lord and Master. If we have never once been rejected or face ridicule or being made to feel uncomfortable for being a Christian, chances are we have not really lived our faith in the unbelieving world. Chances are, we have not a prophetic voice. May we always have the courage of our convictions, and clarity of mind to explain it to others.