January 30, 2022
Pope Francis reflects on the Gospel reading of the day inviting believers to be humble and willing and never to reject the ways of the Lord.
Reflecting on the passage from the Gospel of Luke that tells of how Jesus met with incomprehension and hostility when he gave his first sermon in his home town, Nazareth, Pope Francis invited Christians to believe in good, even when faced with closures and rejection (Lk 4:21-30).
Speaking during the Sunday Angelus, the Pope recalled that in Nazareth, Jesus is received with incomprehension and hostility. Rather than a word of truth, he explained, his fellow villagers “wanted miracles and prodigious signs.”
They reject him, he said, and “Jesus therefore utters a phrase that has become proverbial: “No prophet is acceptable in his own country.”
The Pope explained that these words reveal “that Jesus’ failure was not entirely unexpected. He knew his people, he knew the risk he was running, he took rejection into account.”
This, Pope Francis continued, is a question that we too often ask ourselves. But it is a question that helps us understand God better: “Faced with our closures, he does not withdraw: he does not put brakes on his love.”
Leave no stone unturned in doing good
He noted that this is exemplified by the unconditional love of parents who are aware of the ingratitude of their children, but do not cease to love them and do good to them. God, he added, “is the same, but at a much higher level. And today he invites us too to believe in good, to leave no stone unturned in doing good.”
Readiness and humility
Something else, the Pope said, is revealed by what happens in Nazareth that causes us to ask ourselves questions pertaining to our own hostility and unwelcoming attitudes.
“Let us look at the models of acceptance that Jesus proposes today,” he said, noting that “They are two foreigners: a widow from Sarepta of Sidon and Naaman, the Syrian.”
Both of them, he recalled welcomed prophets: “the first Elijah, the second Elisha.” But neither was an easy reception, and both went through trials.
The widow and Naaman, in short, accepted through willingness and humility, the Pope said, explain that faith passes through readiness and humility.
Jesus asks us to accept him in our daily reality
Jesus, the Pope said, also goes the way of the prophets: he presents himself as we would not expect. “He is not found by those who seek miracles, new sensations, a faith made up of power and external signs. He is found instead by those who accept his ways and his challenges, without complaint, without suspicion, without criticism and long faces.”
In other words, he said, “Jesus asks you to accept him in the daily reality that you live; in the Church of today, as it is; in those who are close to you every day; in the reality of those in need. He is there, inviting us to purify ourselves in the river of availability and in many healthy baths of humility.”
Our Lady shows us the way to welcome Jesus
Perhaps, Pope Francis concluded, “after many years as believers, we think we know the Lord well, with our ideas and our judgments. The risk is that we get used to Jesus, we close ourselves up to his newness, frozen in our positions. Instead, the Lord asks us for an open mind and a simple heart.