I don’t think I can ever again read Luke’s account of Jesus’ rejection in his hometown (4:21-30) without thinking of Pope Francis’ homily.
I was struck by his contrast between the closed minds of “insiders” and the open minds of “outsiders… and… the challenge to us. Vintage Francis!
Read these excerpts and judge for yourself.
“Insiders” with closed minds
- … Jesus’ first sermon in his home town, Nazareth… instead of receiving approval, Jesus finds incomprehension and even hostility (cf. Lk 4:21-30).
- … His fellow villagers, rather than a word of truth, wanted miracles and prodigious signs. The Lord does not perform them and they reject him, because they say they already knew him as a child: he is Joseph’s son (cf. v. 22), and so on.
- … a question that helps us understand God better. Faced with our closures, he does not withdraw: he does not put brakes on his love. Faced with our closures, he goes forward.
“Outsiders” with open minds
- … let us look at the models of acceptance that Jesus proposes today, to us and to his fellow countrymen.
- … They are two foreigners: a widow from Sarepta of Sidon and Naaman, the Syrian. Both of them welcomed prophets: the first Elijah, the second Elisha. But it was not an easy reception, it went through trials.
- … The widow welcomed Elijah, despite the famine and although the prophet was persecuted (cf. 1 Kings 17:7-16), he was persecuted for political and religious reasons.
- … Naaman, on the other hand, despite being a person of the highest order, accepted the request of the prophet Elisha, who led him to humble himself, to bathe seven times in a river (cf. 2 Kings 5:1-14), as if he were an ignorant child.
- … The widow and Naaman, in short, accepted through readiness and humility. The way of receiving God is always to be ready, to welcome and him and to be humble
- … Brothers and sisters, Jesus also goes the way of the prophets: he presents himself as we would not expect.
- … (Jesus) is found only by those who accept his ways and his challenges, without complaint, without suspicion, without criticism and long faces.
A challenge for us…
- … In other words, 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,
- in the problems of your family,
- in your parents, in your children, in grandparents,
- in welcoming God there.
- …He is there, inviting us to purify ourselves in the river of availability and in many healthy baths of humility. It takes humility to encounter God, to let ourselves be encountered by him.
- ... are we welcoming, or do we resemble his fellow countrymen, who believed they knew everything about him? “I studied theology, I took that course in catechesis… I know everything about Jesus!
- … The risk is that we …we close ourselves off, we close ourselves off to his newness, to the moment in which he knocks on our door and asks you something new, and wants to enter into you. We must stop being fixed in our positions.
- … when a person has an open mind, a simple heart, he or she has the capacity to be surprised, to wonder. The Lord always surprises us: this is the beauty of the encounter with Jesus.
- …May Our Lady, model of humility and willingness, show us the way to welcome Jesus.
What do you think?
Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk
Pope Francis preached for only 7 minutes in Italian (You can read it in about half that time).