The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.
But do you gird your loins;
stand up and tell them
all that I command you.
Be not crushed on their account,
as though I would leave you crushed before them;
for it is I this day
who have made you a fortified city,
a pillar of iron, a wall of brass,
against the whole land:
against Judah’s kings and princes,
against its priests and people.
They will fight against you but not prevail over you,
for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.
sing of your salvation. In you, O LORD, I take
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
I will sing of your salvation. Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
I will sing of your salvation. For you are my hope, O
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength. I will sing of your salvation. My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
I will sing of your salvation.
Brothers and sisters:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, it is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying:
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his
They also asked, “Isn’t this 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
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 Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.
I read an article many years ago by a famous writer, though
I forget his name. It was about the fear which went
with living in Germany under the Nazi; they came for
the Jews, be he wasn’t a Jew and so he said nothing in
protest; the same happened when they came for the
communists, the trade unionists, and so on. But the
time they came for him, there was no one else left to make any protest.
There are times when we all try to silence and get rid of
whatever we find different or challenging. That is
certainly true in our country today with the present
administration of our so called leaders. And it is also
certainly true in the history of God’s dealings with his
Chosen People, who either ignored or killed the prophets God
sent to bring them back to him. Jeremiah and Jesus both
belong to this prophetic tradition, proclaiming God’s
message and calling the people to trust in him. Both had to
face unpopularity and rejection; Jeremiah fled for his life
to Egypt and Jesus’ message was so unwelcomed that, in
today’s Gospel, they tried to kill him.
Eventually of course, they succeeded. One reason why
Jesus was rejected was that people of Nazareth thought that he
was just a nobody, just a carpenter’s son. Because
they knew him, they couldn’t believe that he could possibly
be the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of God. They
wanted Jesus to prove himself, they wanted signs, miracles,
proof. But what enraged them even more than Jesus’
presumption was his challenge to their sense of being
special, unique, superior to the peoples, because they were
God’s Chosen People. Jesus reminded them that God had
shown in the past that he loved all people, not just the
people of Israel. They perceived that Jesus was
turning away from them and offering
to take his message of salvation to others, including the
Gentiles. They wanted to silence such blasphemy, and so they
tried to kill him.
Like Jeremiah and Jesus, we too are called to be God’s
prophets, as a Church, as a people, and as individuals. We
are called to make God’s love known, near and far, and
without prejudice, as his servants, in the everyday ordinary
events of our lives. In baptism, God calls us to be his
witnesses. This will inevitably mean facing up to
opposition and hostility, as is seen so much in this country
today. When we speak out against the killing of unborn
children; when we speak out against those who want to take
God out of every aspect of our country, most especially our
schools; when we speak out against immorality, crimes,
violence, and corruption, we are speaking out against the
very same things that Jesus himself spoke out against.
No one likes to hear the truth when it is uncomfortable,
when it challenges people’s ideas, perceptions, or
lifestyles. We may even try to stifle the voice of God
ourselves. Well hopefully you and I and anyone who lives in
Christ doesn’t, but there are those who are bent to no end
on doing so. Like the people of Nazareth, we might believe
that God cannot be possibly speaking in the ordinary events
of our lives, that we cannot possibly be expected to bear
witness to our faith in the place we work, or to our
families and friends. The people of Nazareth too believed
that God couldn’t possibly be speaking and working through
this ordinary carpenter’s son. And yet, the only placed God
can speak to us, the only place we can meet him, must be in
the very ordinary circumstances of our lives.
If we don’t encounter him there, then we won’t find him at
all. And the only place in which we can bear witness to
God, to the values of his kingdom, is precisely in the
ordinariness of our lives; in our relationships, in our
homes, our workplace, our community, in our town hall
meetings, and on our websites. Like Jesus, we might have to
face hostility and rejection for standing up for what we
know to be right. That is happening with me, as it has
come to my attention that some comments I have made on You
Tube were photographed. I am being watched, but I
don't care, God is my Protector. All it takes for evil to win through,
is for good people to do nothing, to remain silent. As for
me, I will not remain silent. You must make your own
decision. Today’s psalm and first reading assure us that no
matter what happens, God is with us, he is our refuge, our
strength, our protector! And praise be his holy name.
It is my prayer that this message was meaningful to you.
Thank you and may God bless you all this coming week.