I want to teach you to love!
March 8, 2021
St. John of God
Dear Family of Mary!
Our Gospel for today has always intrigued me. It is Luke4:24-30:
Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: “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 severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one 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, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away. (Luke 4:24-30)
Jesus must have been teaching in that synagogue and had sensed that the people did not believe His prophetic words. And so He used Elijah and Elisha as examples of prophets being rejected by their own people. Clearly the people would get the point. Jesus had words from God for them and they were not receiving them. But let’s not forget, this synagogue was in Nazareth! This was Jesus’ home town. Not only were these people fellow Jews; they were Jesus’ neighbors and probably relatives as well. This group thought they knew Jesus pretty well. And they could not believe that Jesus was anything like Elijah or Elisha. He was just a hometown boy.
And so they got so worked up that they tried to kill him.
How could Jesus’ neighbors and relatives get so worked up? How could they try to kill Jesus? His mother must have been there. Think how Our Lady must have felt!! This scene is very disturbing to me.
It is a preview of things to come for Jesus. Because at the end of His public ministry, He would be treated in just the same way in Jerusalem, but this time He would not be able to pass through the midst of the crowd and go away. He would be crucified.
Neighbors. It is not easy to maintain good relationships with our neighbors, and even with our family members. We just know each other too well. But Our Lady has asked us to love our neighbors, as has Jesus. Even if they reject us, we must love them. Here is one message:
December 2, 2004 “Dear children, I come to you as a mother, who, above all, loves her children. My children, I want to teach you to love! I pray for this! I pray that in each of your neighbors you recognize my Son, because the path to my Son, who is true peace and love, leads you through love towards your neighbors. My children, pray and fast that your hearts be open for this my intention.”
The way to Jesus is through love of neighbor. It isn’t easy, but it is what Jesus models for us. Because Jesus accepted His death on the cross for those very neighbors and relatives who tried to kill him. We too must love our relatives and neighbors with forgiving and generous love. Our Lady tells us that loving our neighbors is her intention for us. She really wants this to happen in us.
Maybe we can remember the reaction that Jesus’ neighbors had to Him and try to love those we have had a problem with. Just a smile or a kind act is enough to change everything. Lent is all about changing our lives for the better.
In Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!
©Mary TV 2021