1 John 4:19—5:4 + Psalm 72 + Luke 4:14-22
January 10, 2013
“He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.” [Luke 4:15]
The secular world attempts to flatten the Christian Faith into something two-dimensional. Attacks make clear that what’s really being attack is a straw-man that bears little resemblance to the fullness of the Faith. For example, Christmas is reduced to a day of remembering Jesus’ birth.
Christmas is a season, of course, rather than a day. It begins not on the day after Halloween, but on the day of Christ’s Nativity. The Church’s Christmas Season celebrates five mysteries, concluding with the Baptism of the Lord (according to the modern Church calendar, which excludes the Presentation of the Lord from the season). The Christmas Season leads to the threshold of Jesus’ public ministry.
Today’s Gospel passage, in fact, occurs in the chapter following the account of Jesus’ baptism, immediately after his forty days of temptation in the wilderness. Jesus is presented as a great teacher: “all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.” But the Gospel passage we hear today at Mass doesn’t give us “the rest of the story”. Jesus just couldn’t leave well enough alone: by the time he finished speaking, “the people in the synagogue… were all filled with fury.” If you and I are called to teach the Faith by our example (if not our words), then we may receive praise, but more likely we will face rejection.