4th Sun C
Reflection is an essential element of our growth in Christ. As we reflect over what we have learnt and ponder it in our hearts, we come to recognise the presence of God in our lives.
This Sunday's Reflection
I heard a country and western song recently. Its title was I’m a red neck and proud of it. I’ll be honest I really did try to listen to the words with an open mind but I kept asking myself what is happening in people who think like this. Then looking at the scene in this Sunday’s Gospel. I could well imagine that song being played on Local Radio Nazareth 101. Galilee was a populous, fertile region almost surrounded by Gentile territory. While the local people were doing okay economically, religiously and culturally they were looked down upon by the people of Israel proper. So they had a chip on their shoulder. When the local boy made good returned, they were ready to claim him as their own - their passport to fame, to acceptance. But he had some seriously strange ideas about God’s acceptance being for all people…even for foreigners, those dogs…or worse than dogs. Like many insecure people, they boosted their self-esteem by putting down another group.
‘He came to his own domain and his people did not accept him.’ These words from the Gospel of John could well be used of this scene from Luke. Yet the initial response to his preaching seemed so positive…or was it? Yes, they were astonished at his words but had they got the point of what he was saying? Jesus was talking about the ‘acceptance of God’ but their acceptance of him was dependent on him fulfilling their will – not God’s. And when they realised that God’s acceptance included foreigners they were horrified. They acted unconsciously and viscerally. They acted like the worst of…red necks?
But before I, or we, start feeling superior to that group of people, we must face the fact that we all feel inferior, have a chip on our shoulder, put others down to make ourselves feel better. Sin does that to us. Only ‘acceptance by God’ can heal us. When we know that, our hearts open and we are given the gift of loving as Jesus loved, feely, accepting all.