Seeing Beyond the Ordinary

View the readings for this Sunday.

Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jer 1:4-5, 17-19
Ps 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15-17
1 Cor 12:31-13:13
Lk 4:21-30

By Marc Massery

In the Gospel reading this weekend, Jesus enters a synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth and essentially proclaims Himself the long-awaited Messiah. The Nazarenes wonder how such an ordinary man could possibly claim something so extraordinary. Jesus, a local working man, was someone they could identify with. They cannot believe He is the Savior. They ask, "Isn't this the son of Joseph?" (Lk 4:22).

As Jesus continues to speak, He implies that He doesn't expect His fellow Nazarenes to believe Him. He refers to Elisha and Elijah who both worked miracles for Gentiles during a dark time when God looked unfavorably upon the Israelites. By referring to these two prophets, Jesus suggests that the Israelites who refuse to accept Him as the Messiah will lose out on blessings from which even Gentiles would benefit. In other words, Jesus is saying that faith, not lineage, enables one to receive God's blessings.

Like the Nazarenes in this Gospel, we can take Jesus for granted, too. All our lives, we've heard that Jesus is the Savior, that He performed great miracles and Resurrected from the dead. But He only ever seems to come to us in ordinary ways: as a quiet voice in our hearts, through stories in the Bible, and under the appearance of simple bread and wine.

As St. Faustina gazes at the Eucharist in Adoration, Jesus tells her, "You see, although there appears to be no trace of life in Me, in reality it is present in its fullness in each and every Host. But for Me to be able to act upon a soul, the soul must have faith. O how pleasing to Me is living faith!" (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 1420).

Jesus' ordinary appearance forces us to have to see Him through the eyes of faith. Only through faith can we witness Christ's supernatural power working through and around us. When we doubt Christ, we become confused and angry like the Nazarenes. In fact, we might even start looking to someone or something else for satisfaction.

But Jesus alone can save us. He alone can give us everything we need to escape the bondage of sin, which makes us all so unhappy. He only needs us to acknowledge His power as Messiah and to trust in His Providence. Then He will deliver us from everything that holds us back to being fully alive.

View the previous Sunday Scripture Preview.

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