Gospel of Nice - Sunday Reading

Gospel of Nice - Sunday Reading

I ended up at a catholic church the other day. I'd had previous experience there, and the senior priest in those days was a no-nonsense sort, but the priest there on this occasion... well, before I show you the relevant readings, the priest opened up telling us that today was about rejection. The church also had succumbed to the terror - requiring masks - and if it hadn't been involving supporting someone through the loss of a family member, that alone would have made me back out.

The relevant readings for this post are below:

Reading I  
Jer 1:4-5, 17-19  
The word of the LORD came to me, saying:  
        Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
                    before you were born I dedicated you,
                    a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

        But do you gird your loins;
                    stand up and tell them
                    all that I command you.
        Be not crushed on their account,
                    as though I would leave you crushed before them;
        for it is I this day
                    who have made you a fortified city,
        a pillar of iron, a wall of brass,
                    against the whole land:
        against Judah’s kings and princes,
                    against its priests and people.
        They will fight against you but not prevail over you,
                    for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

And the gospel :

Lk 4:21-30
----------------
Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying:
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. 
They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb,
‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say,
‘Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”
And he said, “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 Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.

The priest, such as he is, then went on to give a homily about how much it hurt to be rejected, and that we should learn to accept what is brought before us, instead of rejecting people because they are different. Jesus after all didn't help his own people, and the priest gave examples of prophets going out their way to help other people different from them, as if ignoring one's own people and neighbors was the higher virtue. And Jeremiah was worried about rejection as well, that's why he was a reluctant prophet.

He completely missed the point. Among other things, this isn't a story about people rejecting Jesus, so much as him once again rejecting people who were not willing to meet his standards. Time and time again, Jesus is faced with the pharisees, the powers that be, and regular folk invested in the system, invested in him demonstrating his power, his kingship, wanting him to be a circus monkey performing miracles on demand.

And Jesus would not accept those. He spurned those. Only those who listened and accepted him were accepted.

On that note, Jesus also had whipped the  money changers out of the temple. This is not an act of open-armed acceptance of all mores and values.

So - Jesus spurns a crowd there to see a show, a demonstration of power. To underscore this, he states: "Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place"

Truth seekers and those opposed to the powers that be are spurned, oppressed, driven out, and treated as if they were among the charlatans and the insane. If a society is in need of prophets, most of those getting along in it are invested in things continuing, rather than being fixed.

Further - that explains why the prophets he invokes went to heal others from other lands. They were not spurning their own people, for their people had already spurned them, had already decided what they were willing to see and hear. So the prophets went to seek out those who would listen and accept the word of the lord.

So yes, we should learn to recognize what is Godly and true in this life. While not all who are dismissed by the current order of things are truth tellers and seekers - after all, there are always the genuinely insane, the sociopaths, and the grifters - the social order likely will oppose them. Jesus rejects those who reject truth and God.