Reflection: Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Jer.1:4-5. 17-19; Ps.70; 2nd Reading – 1Cor.12:31-13:13; Gospel – Lk.4:21-30]


It is strange how we can go from one extreme to another in just a few seconds. Something, which at one point is to our liking can, a moment later, become a motive that enrages us. And this is what happened to those who were listening to Jesus in today’s gospel: at first, we are told, they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips and then, a moment later, they were so enraged with him that they hustled him out of the town with the intention of throwing him down the cliff! We are told that Jesus had the approval of all, especially when Jesus was talking about the Old Testament text and how this same text that they were listening to, was being fulfilled. Now, we are not told if the audience actually understood what Jesus was saying. We are only told that they were happy of the way Jesus was talking.  At the same time they were questioning about the ‘gracious words’ that were coming from his lips. They knew he was the son of Joseph and it seems that this was enough to distract (and hinder) their minds from fully understanding those ‘gracious words’.

The difficulty arose when Jesus spoke about their reception to what he was saying and doing. Jesus’ statements in response to their “This is Joseph’s son, surely?” showed that he found a lot of difficulties to fulfil his mission with them.  At the same time Jesus also felt that they were not ready to accept him and accept what he was doing. Something was rendering their minds obstinate to accept His teaching especially when He gave them the example of the Prophets. Jesus told them that their forefathers did not accept Elijah nor Elisha.  He also told them that these prophets had to turn their prophecy towards other people. Jesus’ auditors understood that they were doing the same thing as their forefathers. Thus the same thing was being fulfilled once again, not only for Jesus, but also for those who were unwilling to accept him.

Quite often we heard or even said that “history repeats itself”. This is so true with us. There are times when as soon as we hear the word of God, it has all our approval and our acceptance and we are often also astonished by the gracious words that we hear. No sooner than we hear something else, we forget all about our astonishment and we find ourselves struggling with what we have heard. And when we are told what others have done in the same situation we refuse to admit that quite often we ourselves do the same thing. Furthermore instead of accepting this fact about ourselves, we also refuse to accept the word of God in our life, in part or in all. The word of God becomes something that is accepted in our lives only if it is to our “liking”! It is easy to say that we accept what is said in the first and second readings … but do we really (and truly) accept Jesus as our Saviour as presented in the gospel?

“Lord, although we are accustomed to hear your word, sometimes we are happy to accept it and sometimes (especially when we find difficulty in understanding your word) we choose the easy way out and refuse to accept it.  Lord, give us the appropriate wisdom and light to accept your word, and in doing so, we accept You as the word made flesh, in our life.  Thank You Lord!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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