03Sep 03 Sept. Monday of Week Twenty Two

1 Cor 2:1ff. Paul came to Corinth in a weakened state, but still preached with the convincing power of the Spirit.

Luke 4:16ff. Jesus’ inaugural discourse at Nazareth, promising the fulfilment of Isaiah’s hope-filled vision

Also: St. Gregory the Great. Memorial

That Special Day

If all spiritual power derives from Christ, then Paul will not be discouraged, even if for a time he has to live “in weakness and fear.” His correspondence with the Corinthians reveals the intense level of argument and debate within the early Church. As the foundation of his pastoral activity Paul felt a deep sense of consecration to God’s work, and he sensed the genuine presence of the Spirit. Therefore he kept going in spite of opposition, always open to new inspiration, and even coping with changes of his mood. After doing his best, Paul could then confidently leave the results with “the power of God.”

Today we begin to read from Luke’s account of Jesus’ ministry. With him we will follow Jesus on his journeys all through the remaining weekdays in ordinary time, from this twenty-second week till the thirty-fourth. Already from the pulpit in Nazareth he announces, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Later, Jesus will point out that the kingdom of God is not to be identified with a point of time, nor is it “here” or “there.” For the deepest truth is that the reign of God is already in your midst (Lk 17:21). This inaugural sermon at Nazareth combines some major themes of Luke’s gospel: concern for the poor; people’s shock at Jesus; his outreach to Gentiles; the role of the Spirit; Jesus as prophet, rejected outside the city.

“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” The promise of resurrection is already dawning. The jubilee year of favour announced in Isaiah 61, which precedes the new Jerusalem and the new heaven and new earth (Isa 65: 17-25), has already begun with Jesus. His followers already experience some of the wonder and joy of the jubilee. Such happiness cannot be possessed selfishly, for it will be lost if it is not shared. We, the chosen people, must be willing to recognize the same compassion to widows and foreigners, outcasts and lepers. Jesus cannot rest content unless the glad tidings are shared with all the poor and neglected of the world.

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

When I came to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling; and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Gospel: Luke 4:16-30

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to procaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'” And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.