St. Gregory the Great, Pope & Doctor of the Church
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 + Luke 4:16-30
September 3, 2018
…the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at Him.
When a Catholic man first receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders, he becomes a deacon. One of his chief responsibilities is to preach during the Sacred Liturgy. It’s a rare newly ordained deacon who isn’t very nervous while preaching his first homily. We might wonder whether Jesus, in His human nature, felt nervous as He preached in the synagogue in Nazareth. After all, if there’s one thing more nerve-wracking than preaching, it’s preaching in your hometown!
The evangelist does not divulge what Jesus felt as He preached on this occasion. But he does relate what the congregation felt. At first, they were “amazed at the gracious words that came from His mouth.” But then Jesus continued to preach.
As Jesus continues, the congregation feels very differently. They “were all filled with fury”: not just anger, but fury. As a point for our reflection today, we might ponder why Jesus wasn’t content with the congregation’s amazement at His graciousness. Why did He continue preaching when He knew in His divinity what their response would be? Why did He knowingly provoke the congregation’s fury? Finally, what sins of theirs was their fury meant to cover, and which sins in our own lives are we so attached to that we’re willing to manifest fury rather than face them?