Just like a series on Netflix we get a glimpse of Season 1, Episode 1 and Season 1, Episode 4—of St. Luke’s Gospel, from the start to the grown-up Jesus in the synagogue.
Tune in again next week when we will see the continuation of Season 1, and the rest of Episode 4 when everybody will be so angry with Jesus that they want to kill Him. We have seen these episodes many times. But unlike a movie, the Word of God is always new. Jesus speaks to us in different ways according to what is happening in our lives. For example, Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth. For those of us who are not from McAllen, we can identify with a return to our hometown. The older we get, the more people that we do not recognize. People die or move away. Jesus had not been gone long because He did not begin His ministry until He was 30 years old. When He returned, He was the talk of the town. His fame had spread. He was known as a teacher, a healer, a miracle worker. Expectations were high. Avenues of entertainment were limited. The town plaza, the market, and the place of worship were the centers of social life. All the local gossip was channeled wherever two or three were gathered. Everybody knew everybody. They knew family history—the good as well as all the dirt. Jesus was a local boy who had made it “big”. Therefore, when folks heard that He was headed their way, no one wanted to miss out. We can imagine that there was a full house and that everyone had their eyes glued on Him.
Out of the 66 chapters in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah Jesus read from Chapter 61—a passage familiar to everyone. Isaiah, a major prophet, is the one who speaks about the coming of the Messiah, more than any other prophet. We quote him during the Passion of Jesus when we remember the suffering servant. However, the passage that Jesus quoted was a triumphant song. No doubt that Jesus knew the passage by heart, as well as the chant to proclaim it. Basically, Jesus announced that people in trouble were now going to rejoice with delight! Who doesn’t want to hear good news? Who doesn’t like to hear that the worst is over? Given our present circumstances we would all welcome good news. Seems like all that we hear is on the negative side. For sure, folks who listened to Jesus were ready for a new beginning. Every age has their share of troubles. Yet, the people in the synagogue did not have the advantage of 2,000 years of Christianity. They were still waiting for the fulfillment of the prophecies. We know who the fulfillment of the prophecy is: Our Lord Jesus Christ!
We are not looking for anyone else. Or are we? Are some of us still confused? Doubt enters our minds particularly when God does not act the way we want. Why have so many died from Covid? Why is there a resurgence of the illness? We become impatience. Instead of answers we only have questions. The popular solution is to go buy more toilet paper. We panic and shelves are empty again. Folks will not come to Church, but they will risk going to the stores to buy stuff they do not really need—the madness which comes from not being in control. The pandemic has reminded us of our smallness, and we don’t like it! It’s the foreigners, it’s the unvaccinated, it’s the scientists. Somebody’s to blame. When life does not go the way we want our first reaction is to accuse. Yet, once we deal with our anger, we realize that perhaps no one is guilty. Bad things just happen and there is no explanation. In the midst of our pain, we remember that Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecy. He is the Good News that is here to stay. Our Lord is the only One who can help us to make sense from the brokenness. He helps us to remain hopeful in a better tomorrow. Gloom and doom make headlines. Good News is not as popular. We have a choice as to whom we will listen.
We cannot change reality, but we can change the way that we see. Jesus Christ gives us a new way. Through His example, everything can change.