Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on August 30, 2010

20060904 Xt in SynagogueGospel reading of the day:

Luke 4:16-30

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that christ-enters-synagoguecame from his mouth. They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’” And he said, “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.

Reflection on the gospel reading: We begin today our readings from the gospel of Luke. Luke will carry us through the weekdays of the remainder of the liturgical year.

The passage we read today has a number of attributes with relevance to the whole gospel of Luke. Luke, for instance, uses geography in his lukenarrative to make a theological point. While the other three gospels have Jesus going in every direction to this town and that town, Luke sets Jesus on a single, unwavering course southward, starting in Nazareth and moving in a continuous trek toward Jerusalem. In Luke, movement toward Jerusalem is movement toward God and the fulfillment of God’s plan. Today’s gospel places Jesus in Nazareth at the start of his ministry as Luke starts him on his path toward Jerusalem where he will suffer his passion and death and be raised on the third day.

The tradition of the synagogue was for an adult male to read on the sabbath a passage of the scripture, and Jesus fulfills this custom when he reads a passage from Isaiah that addresses the mission of the messiah. It comes, however, from the lips of Jesus who reads the passage as a statement about who Jesus is, that is, as a sort of messianic manifesto. Moreover, the passage sets the tone for the whole gospel of Luke because Luke’s reading of the life of Jesus is about glad tidings to the poor, liberty for captives, healing, liberation, and the establishment of God’s kingdom. The passage from Isaiah is both a vision of what is to come in Luke’s gospel and the pattern of our own lives as persons who follow the Lord.

It is interesting to note that Luke commences and ends the ministry of Jesus in violence. At the end of the passage from today’s gospel, the townspeople want to kill Jesus for what he says and does. Of course, the outcome of Jesus’ ministry is just such a fate.

Saint of the day: Margaret Ward was born in Congleton, Cheshire, England. Nothing is known of her early life. Margaret worked a lady’s companion to the Whittle family in London. She and her servant, Blessed John Roche, were arrested for helping Father Richard Watson escape from Bridewell Prison by smuggling him a rope and then helping him once he was outside. Imprisoned, flogged, and tortured, she was offered freedom if she would surrender Father Watson and convert to the Church of England; she declined. She was hanged, drawn, and quartered on August 30, 1588 at Tyburn, London, England.

Eucharist 3Spiritual reading: Now when we have received our Lord (in the Eucharist) and have him in our body, let us not then let him alone and get us forth about other things . . . but let all our business be about him. Let us by devout prayer talk to him, by devout meditation talk with him. (Saint Thomas More)

One Response

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  1. Andrea Gabriele Fritz M.A. said, on November 16, 2011 at 5:16 am

    Would you be so kind to give me some information about the first picture in this article (number 20060904-Xt-in-synagogu) ? It seems to be a remake of a medieval picture. Have you any information about its origin (time, country or region – perhaps Armenian?)

    I would like to mention it in my book concerning the service of sacristans which I am going to publish in a few months.

    Just some information about myself:
    I published a book “Erde singe. Ein Garten für unsere Kirche”, Münster, dialog-Verlag 2007, ISBN 978-3-937961-33-0.

    It is a book about liturgical flower-decoration of churches, based on my experience in my parish. It was presented at the Deutscher Katholikentag Osnabrück 2008.

    Please do excuse my English…


    Andrea Gabriele Fritz M.A.

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