Last week left Jesus at the synagogue of Nazareth reading from the scroll of Isaiah, a reading which identifies Jesus as messiah, todays reading is the follow up to that event. It is His conflicted audience’s reaction. Lasts weeks reading was beautify paired with Ezra reading from the Torah Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10 upon the chosen peoples return from the Babylonian exile. Scriptural reading was something those people had been denied for a very long time.It marked a people’s return to their land, their customs and cultures, and their God. Jesus reading at the synagogue marks the same type of event, a messiah is a one who brings deliverance. That notion of a people defined and united by Christ was emphasized by St. Paul when he compares the human body to the mystical body of Christ1 Cor 12:12-30.
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.
Today’s reading is the people’s reaction, and that reaction is marked by those who reject Christ’s proclamation. At first they are amazed by His wisdom, then they are angered by His claim. We of course choose our side, and from what I have heard that is an important point of this Gospel. The phrase that I heard from the pulpit was “What does this mean to me today.” The choice is not exclusively one of history, it is one that people who are introduced to Christ must make today. The choice is either to choose Christ’s teaching, or to side with the popular opinion. An interesting point about this passage is that it takes place early in Christ’s ministry, and that can easily be complimented with those that are in an early phase of Christian discipleship. The shoes to wear are those of the Catholic student; the grade school student, the high school student, and even the university student. They can hear the Word, they can even proclaim the Word; but listen to the world’s reaction. Put one selves into their shoes and listen to what they face. They face the grumblings and anger of establishment, and of their peers. They face that in every aspect of their lives. Those in authority stress their values in ethics, abortion, sexuality, racism, capitalism, economic discrimination, religious observances, and everything else that marks their formation. Many in authority, many who grumble the loudest, oppose the Christian platform. The reading serves as a reminder that this is nothing new, but it is something everyone confronts early in a Christian journey. It marks the formation of every member of the body of Christ.
In this discussion today, I think I will place more of an emphasis on the “What does this mean to me today” interpretation of the gospel message. I might include it as a line at the conclusion of a post, and a sentence or two to give proof that I thought about the reading in this way. One part of today’s discussion includes the youth and the challenges they face. Tomorrow marks the feast day of a saint that devoted his ministry to under privileged youth, Don Bosco. He is the founder of the Salesian order. I might have the opportunity to write more on that later, but if I don’t I thought I’d mention it today.