By Judy Morss
Today's gospel reading is taken from Luke 4:21-30 and is a continuation of the gospel reading from last week. Jesus is in the synagogue in Nazareth and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He has just finished reading the passage "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor..." and then announced that “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” I can visualize the men sitting around Jesus listening to him and thinking about all the great miracles they have heard Jesus has done and wondering what wonders He will do for each of them.
Jesus knew what was in their hearts; they were self-centered and would ask for signs and wonders, looking for what Jesus give to each of them. Surely the deeds for them would be even greater than those performed elsewhere in Judea. But as He always does, Jesus looked into their hearts and knew what was there. He reminded them that just as their ancestors had rejected God's prophets, Elijah and Elisha, so they would reject Him.
Faith is the key to miracles and the key to our conversion. Our world is overwhelmed by individualism; what's in it for me? What's in it for my personal fulfillment? It is never easy to step back from personal interests and to accept the invitation that Jesus is offering us. He calls us as individuals to join together and to walk along and beside him. He calls us to a cultural revolution in which trusting in God, longing to be with Him, and truly working together to move toward the Kingdom are the desired outcomes. And so the question becomes: How do I eliminate pride, envy, greed from my heart and truly work for what for the good of all? Something for us to ponder as we move toward Lent. We have one more Sunday before Lent begins. I plan to focus on what I can do to pass on the desire to join together to focus on that cultural revolution; I'm not planning to focus on what I can "give up" for Lent, but rather what I can DO during Lent to help bring about this cultural revolution.