When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’”
And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff.But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
When I was a kid, I wanted a go-cart. My friend had received a go-cart for Christmas, and I remember telling my parents, “If Andre gets a go-cart, I should get one too!” I was jealous for months. In the Gospel, instead of listening to Jesus’ words, acknowledging that Elijah and Elisha did in fact aid a widow and a leper elsewhere, the Nazarenes unfairly expect Jesus to work miracles for them. They want to see this “son of Joseph” act like their Messiah but are too blinded by pride to realize his true message. They want their own go-cart.
I eventually lost interest in go-carts. Now, Andre races cars in his spare time—something I would honestly never do. If only I could have thought about why Andre might have needed that go-cart more than I did, I would have avoided jealous unhappiness and sooner found my true passion.
—Austin Freeman is an English teacher and the Test Prep Coordinator for Jesuit High School in Tampa, FL.
Prayer for Generosity
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola
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