Daily Reflection – 3/13/2023
Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: “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 Syrian.” 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 he passed through the midst of them and went away. (Luke 4:24-30)
When Jesus first proclaimed the good news of God’s kingdom to his own townspeople at Nazareth, he did not hesitate to confront them with their sin of indifference and unbelief. He started his listeners and angered them when he complimented Gentiles who had shown more faith in God than the “chosen ones” of Israel.
But even in Nazareth, where repentance and introspection were discarded for anger and retribution, the light of Christ will lead people back to their faithful union with the Lord. God does not brood over injury or rejoice over wrongdoing but eternally hopes in our return to Him through our own free will, for our sake.
That is a lesson we need to believe, both intellectually and emotionally.
Too many pay lip service to that belief. They love God. They “sort of “believe that. But there are so many inequities, so much hurt, that they despair. They ask, “where is God in all of this.”
Intellectually, we need to look to the word. Throughout the Gospel accounts Jesus praised individuals who put their faith in God as they remembered the great and wonderful deeds, he had performed time and again. Jesus even praised outsiders – non-Jews and pagans from other lands who had heard about the mighty deeds of the God of Israel. One example is in today’s scripture.
Emotionally, we need to linger over the fact that the ministry of Jesus was to heal, to love, to show us a better travelled path. A path that would lead us to eternity with His father.
Scripture tells us that “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). God gives grace to the humble who seek him with expectant faith and with a repentant heart that wants to be made whole and clean again.
Every minute, every morning, Jesus awaits us with outstretched arms.
He comes to each of us every day. To soothe us, to comfort us, to remind us of His ever-abiding love. He wants to help us. He knows what we need. He came with humility precisely in order that man might imitate Him. And, without imitating Him, how could we be healed?
The Lord brings healing and pardon to all who humbly seek him with faith and trust
We all stand in need of God’s grace and merciful help every day and every moment of our lives. Scripture tells us that “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Do you want the Lord Jesus to set you free and make you whole again? Ask him to show you the way to walk in his healing love and truth.
The words of Augustine of Hippo are so precise for this scripture.
“Fulfill the commandments out of love. Could anyone refuse to love our God, so abounding in mercy, so just in all his ways? Could anyone deny love to him who first loved us despite all our injustice and all our pride? Could anyone refuse to love the God who so loved us as to send his only Son not only to live among human beings but also to be put to death for their sake and at their own hands?”
Take those words into your heart and mind. His gift to you is the constancy of His love.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord thank you for the offering of your calm, peaceful loving presence. I seek your ways today, Lord, carry me today as always do. I open my heart for you to fill it once again.”
How often this happens in the life of Jesus – that people follow him and then go off in a different direction when things don’t suit. Them. We come to Him in the hope that He will fulfil our needs and realize our dreams. We’re not sure if we have much time for Him if He doesn’t. But then, it’s hard for us to recognize what our real needs are. It seems almost impossible for us to rejoice completely in God’s love. Perhaps this is because we always want to keep something back for ourselves, to retain some control over our lives rather than suffering the indignity of ‘surrender’ to something else. Yet nothing we might cling to will serve us better than the complete freedom that God’s love offers us.