4th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C - 30/1/2022 - Gospel: Lk 4: 21-30
Faith In Christ
Jesus returned to His home town. He came to the local synagogue, and read the passage from the prophet Isaiah 61:1-2. Jesus then told them, 'This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen'. His claim put the audience into disarray. Many were happy to hear Him. They believed Jesus came to set them free from the Roman's power. Others were amazed and praised His wisdom. Others again doubted about His claim. They required proof. They would say to Him something like: if the message was being fulfilled, then prove it.

No matter how much information about Jesus was available, the doubters remained to be doubters. They heard Jesus Himself but they refused to believe in Him. They heard others talked about what Jesus did at Capernaum but refused to believe in them either. St. Matthew told us Jesus did make a few miracles there but the doubters refused to believe. This meant miracles would strengthen faith, but created no faith.

'He did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith' Mt 13:58.

Those who required proof of God's love would never be satisfied, simply because a/ God has never stopped loving us; b/ without God's love we would not survive.

Once a person stops loving someone, that person needs to show his/her love by doing something to gain trust again. We have faith in Jesus, but our faith in Him often falls into the pattern of loving Him, and stop loving Him. Because of this lacked commitment on our part; it is us who need to reconcile to God. Jesus' personal desert experiment showed the devil tempted Him three times. They asked Him to prove that He was God. 'If you are the Son of God..... (do this, do that)' Lk 4. This kind of temptation happened again when Jesus was hung on the cross. We heard the priests, soldiers and even a criminal taunted,

'Let Him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in Him' Mt 27,42

We are not surprise to know that temptation happens daily for all of us. It happens to both Christians and as well as gentiles. Demanding miracles before having faith in Jesus is a temptation. It is the temptation the devil employs. It is the devil's work, telling us to doubt about God's love.

Another reason may come from arrogance or conceit. They knew Jesus' background, His parents, and relatives. They could say His parents were under their jurisdiction. You were their son, at our village, you should obey the village's law, do what we expect of you.

In responding to their lack of Faith, Jesus recalled the two Old Testament stories, reminding them how God blessed the humble, the gentle, while rejecting the elitism. In times of great challenge, some gentiles had shown their kindness. The first story was the widow at Zarephath, in a time of famine, she fed a poor stranger who asked for food. The stranger turned out to be prophet Elijah who was in disguise. Because of her hospitality, for three and a half years of drought, her little jar of flour and oil would never run out (1Kg 17,7-21). The second story was Naaman, a gentile, of high rank in the Syrian military. He had contracted leprosy. He came to see Elisha; the prophet set no sight on him, but sent a simple message telling him to bath seven times in the Jordan. Naaman was very angry and took it as a joke, but came to his senses by his servant's reasoning. He submerged himself in the Jordan seven times. He was cured, his leprosy instantly disappeared. (2Kgs 7:3-10).

Hearing these stories, their pride exploded. Regardless of the holy place, they sprang their feet in the synagogue. Truth was hurting their ego. They expected special treatment, Jesus gave them nothing; He went further, saying something like, I chose you. I first came to you; you refused me. You didn't make me welcome, I turned to the gentiles. Indeed, the gentiles embraced Him.

Jesus came with the Good News message. God's Good News message is always the same. What change is our heart. God's Good News challenges us, it is not us who challenge the Good News. The people at Jesus' hometown challenged not His message, but challenged Jesus Himself. This pattern of behaviour still exists today.

We pray to have firm faith in Jesus.