4th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C - 31/1/2016 - Gospel: Lk 4: 21-30
Being rejected
Every politician when speaks in public knows and accepts that some of his listeners will approve and appreciate his speech while others will criticise it and reject it. This happens, firstly, because the ability to concentrate and the listening skills of the audience are varied from person to person and this makes some listen better than others. Secondly, the audience often forgets that the purpose of a politician is to win votes. This is usually the primary purpose of their speech. If they say something to please the audience it is often only to gain more votes.

People listened to Jesus with the preconceived notion that Jesus was a politician who had come to liberate them from the oppression of the Roman Empire.  They welcomed and appreciated what Jesus spoke about freedom and liberation but when Jesus made it clear to them that he would set them free from the power of sin and death and offered them eternal life they rejected both Him and His teachings.
In responding to their objection, Jesus recalled to them two significant events in their history.  Jesus pointed out, through these events, how anyone who opens their hearts opened to God's messenger are blessed and anyone who refuses God's message, perishes.

The first event was about the poor widow of Zarephath, a Sidonian town, who welcomed the prophet Elijah and her generosity saved her family from a time of famine.

The second event was about a General named Naaman, this Syrian man, had submitted to the instruction of the prophet Elisha and bathed in the river Jordan seven times and his diseased was cured.
Both stories confirm that those who open their minds and hearts to the message of the prophets and carry it out receive God's love and mercy and they survive in times of great difficulty. Those with hardness of hearts, who refuse to welcome the message, perish. These stories enraged many in the audience of Jesus. They stamped their feet to demonstrate their rejection of the message and they wanted to kill Him, by throwing Him off a cliff. It is interesting to know that these people heard only part of the story not the full story.

It is obvious that that those listen to the messengers of God, escape in times of hardship, like the Sidonian widow and the Syrian man. Yet, even though they had Jesus in their midst Who was much more significant than any previous prophet (and no messengers of His stature came after Him) most of the people failed to recognize Him. Those who did listen to Him with an open mind and heart were saved not only from the times of difficulty but were graced with eternal life that only God has the power to grant.
The key idea of the message of God, the message of eternal salvation, was lost because of poor listening.  Poor listening caused by closed minds and hearts. For this reason Jesus left them and went off to another town.