Meditation of Archbishop Pizzaballa: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

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Meditation of Archbishop Pizzaballa: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

By Most Rev. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa

Following is the meditation of the Most Rev. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, for the fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, February 3, 2019:

Last Sunday, we saw the beginnings of Jesus’ public life, according to the Gospel of Luke, beginnings set up, characterized by consolation (Lk 4:14-21): the consolation proclaimed by the prophets, awaited by all the people, the Lord Jesus fulfills in His life, in His being anointed by the Father to bring the proclamation of grace to everyone.

Today, we have proof, to a certain extent, that this consolation is real, definite, sure and for everyone.

We conclude from this fact that Jesus is, personally, willing to pay the price.

The Gospel passage (Lk 4:21-30), which follows directly on last Sunday’s, reveals the reaction of the people to the proclamation made in the synagogue. Jesus is in Nazareth, among relatives and well-known people. It’s to them He announces, for the first time, that in Him is fulfilled the promise made by God to His people.

But right there, Jesus immediately experiences opposition and rejection. Not from those who are distant, from enemies, from pagans, but those closest, from His own, those of His own house.

Jesus seems to say that this is also written in revelation: that mysteriously the message of grace is always associated with refusal, resistance, and precisely by those who are first called to listen to it and welcome it. It is part of grace to be rejected because it is genuinely grace; because it is grace alone because the dramatic experience of rejection confirms that grace is for everyone and does not compel anyone. Precisely where it is rejected, confirmation is given that grace is reliable because it goes beyond rejection, passes through it, just as Jesus passes through the people of Nazareth who surrounded Him to throw Him from the mountain (Lk 4:30). Grace does not depend on our reception of it, but it is given always and ever. Otherwise, it would not be grace.

An important question to be asked concerning the reasons for this rejection: why do the fellow townsmen of Jesus not welcome Him? Why is opposition triggered at once, which comes directly to projects of death? Why is it that we pass so quickly from wonder to incomprehension.

There are no grave reasons that justify the Nazarenes’ attitude, other than a disease of the heart that opposes every possible newness, every gift. And the more the gift is near and free, the more intolerance of the heart increases; yet only this free grace can heal this pain, this illness.

The Nazarenes, like the Pharisees and so many others in the Gospel, were unable to recognize newness in the person of Jesus. Their hearts were closed to something new. Their idea of the Messiah prevailed over the person they had before them. In that way, they made the work of the Spirit in them impossible, of seeing life in an entirely new way. To welcome Jesus, seeing Him in His truth, it’s necessary to make ourselves little, needy. The good news was proclaimed to them (Lk 4:18, He sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor). These are the poor of the Gospel, who, without prejudice, can make room for newness. They are the little ones, the poor, the privileged because they can let themselves be healed, like the inhabitants of the villages of Galilee who welcomed Jesus, unlike the inhabitants of Nazareth.

We could be shocked at the attitude of the Nazarenes. But we must be careful because it simply says that there is in each person’s heart, also in ours, that which is so difficult to make us feel happy. We prefer a thousand times to merit, to conquer, to earn than to welcome a gift.

Jesus has come for this, to heal humanity’s sin that has made it unable to believe in the love of the Father. That’s why it is so necessary that Jesus personally pay for the grace that He gives us, to make us see how much our life is worth in His eyes.

+Pierbattista

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 17:34
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