OMELIE / Omelie EN

03 feb 2019
03/02/2019 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time - C

03/02/2019 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time - C

in Italy: Life Day!

Reading 1 JER 1,4-5.17-19 * Psalm 70 * Reading 2 1COR 12,31 - 13,13 * Gospel LK 4,21-30


The prophets were prophets because they were announcing the Messiah, creating hope. They were announcing Him with words, but God's Spirit made them prophets in their very way of living.

We are listening today to Jeremiah, who is telling how he has been called to be a prophet. God had spoken to him showing him the great love with which He had prepared his birth. He had chosen him and consecrated him. In this way, the prophet is the object of God’s attentive care: how on earth he can possibly be afraid of men? Men, no matter how powerful they are, will not be able to damage him, if God is with him. “I am with you to deliver you”, the Lord says to him.

Jeremiah does not have any reason or excuse to avoid the difficult task he is given. Surely, when he will act like a prophet, so when he will repeat God’s words, his life will be in danger, because the powerful men in the world will fight him, will oppose him: in fact, they do not want to hear rebukes. They believe they are omnipotent, they think they can do whatever is convenient to them, without taking into consideration the love that God has always felt towards the poor and the meek, and towards truth and justice. They, with their appetite for richness and honors, will always try to silence whoever is wording God's judgment: they look at the prophets like enemies. Like this are not only the rich and powerful men, but also everyone who, despite being poor, are dreaming of honors and richness.

And here we are, the gospel is taking us to Nazareth! Here, probably, there are no rulers or great rich. In Nazareth there are only the poor and simple acquaintances of Jesus'. They, however, despite their humble condition, know how to feed great dreams and put forward requests they think are given rights. In fact, given the fact that Jesus has shown incredible signs in other towns, like Capernaum, they think they have the right to receive the same marvels for the simple fact that he had been living with them for a while! They do not humble themselves, they are not declaring their faith in Him like those who had been healed in other places did. Jesus is aware of this, and He says it. He has been reading the Scriptures in front of them, and He has clearly told that they are speaking about Him: they should have been able to and they should have read His miracles in the light of the Scriptures, and understood that He is the Messiah they had been waiting for. Instead, they only get to think of Him, like they have always had, as the son of Joseph.

Jesus, like the prophets, would like to help His «friends» in Nazareth to take the next step, to look at things like God does, to change the conclusions of the usual reasoning, always interesting. If He comes from God, sent by Him, He needs to obey Him, who loves all men and listens to whoever shows faith in Him, even if they are coming from pagan peoples. Already the prophets have being acting in a way to show this universal love of the God of Israel: Elijah had performed his greatest miracle in the territory of Sidon, for a pagan widow, bringing back to life her dead son, and Elisha had healed a foreign leper who had come to him. It is like He was saying that miracles do not happen automatically, for the only reason that they are His acquaintances or Abraham’s descendants, and that in front of God they cannot put forward rights. The miracles performed are signs from which needs to be taken a lesson, a revelation: who is the one performing them? Is he a healer, someone who does magic? Or is he the one sent from God who needs to be heard, to be interrogated, in order to obey Him? The true miracle happens in the heart of whoever takes God's revelation seriously and trusts Jesus. Faith in Him then will perform miracles and move the mountains, like He will say some other time.

Jesus' fellow townies do not understand. They consider Him one of them, and they would like Him to use His «powers» for their benefit. They cannot understand that God is a God who loves everyone, and that His love can be seen and enjoyed only by those who love selflessly on their turn. Jesus wants to turn the hearts towards this love, but He will be forced to do that elsewhere, because “no prophet is accepted in his own native place”.

Selfless love is the theme of the second reading too. Saint Paul knows that among the Christians God has distributed many skills, gifts of His grace, but he is afraid that these will become, instead of a source of unity, a possibility for jealousy, envy and therefore division. The evil is always at work, and he tries to use God's gifts against Him. This is the reason why the apostle wants to remember the new commandment given by Jesus, and he pushes the faithful to consider selfless love as the greatest chrism, the most desirable, because it is the environment in which all the other chrisms need to operate, in order for them to really be able to show the kingdom of God. If the believer did not have this love, all their good qualities would be empty, meaningless and without value. Selfless love is based on faith, which, being faith in the God of the love, brings us to love, and therefore it unites our life also to Him. Our life becomes, thanks to love, prophecy and revelation of the true God.

We too are and want to be all prophets, joyfully, without letting ourselves being stopped by the greed and vanity of the world: with our entire life we say that God is freely given and faithful love.