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Theology for the common man

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time C Year

Sunday, January 30, 2022

And exactly what could have been expected happened. Jesus, after his appearance in the synagogue in Nazareth, revealing his saving mission, is rejected by his countrymen. This is the fate of the prophets: no one is welcome in his homeland. The inhabitants of Nazareth could not believe that such a close acquaintance, namely the son of Mary and Joseph, the carpenter they knew, could be a savior sent from God. It does not fit into their categories of thought, let alone religious, Old Testament correctness. Jesus pours oil on the fire, giving examples of the acceptance of God's message in the history of Israel by foreigners: Elijah stays in the home of the widow of Sidon during the great famine and drought in Israel, the Syrian Naaman is healed of leprosy, but none of the sons of Israel. Jesus focuses on the lack of faith in the latter, which is many in the former. This is the main message of the gospel today. You can have everything at hand, but faith, which is the key to understanding His saving message, does not allow them to be effective in their lives. It also causes prostitutes and thieves who accept in faith His invitation to conversion to enter the kingdom of God before others. It is not surprising that the listeners feel offended by Jesus' attention and want His death. Ultimately, the criterion for God's election is not Israel's national affiliation, but God's love, which, however, requires faith in God's power among the recipients. The features of this love are highlighted in today's second reading in the famous hymn of St. Paul about love.