4th Sunday O.T. (C)
JESUS CHRIST, THE ULTIMATE AND DEFINITIVE PROPHET AND
FULFILLMENT OF ALL THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES.
The acceptance of Jesus as our Savior brings with it works of faith, hope and love.
Dear brethren in Christ: this Sunday’s liturgy revolves around a central theme: JESUS CHRIST IS THE ULTIMATE AND DEFINITIVE PROPHET, THE CULMINATION AND FULFILLMENT OF ALL THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES.
- The 1st reading taken from Jeremiah 1:4–5, 17–19 speaks to us about his vocation: “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.”
- In the Old Testament, a prophet is the perfect prototype of a man chosen by God’s initiative to transmit His Divine Will to the people of Israel. This is the reason why the prophet is a symbolical figure of the true and definitive prophet: Jesus Christ. Thus, the revelation of the mystery of Christ is carried out in a prophetic context. As the Vatican Council II teaches, the entire Old Testament is a prophetic revelation which leads to Christ Dei verbum 2, 3, 14-15).
- The abovementioned idea is seen in today’s Gospel which is a continuation of the last week’s Gospel taken from St. Luke 4:21–30. Jesus, like Elijah and Elisha, was sent not only to the Jews. He is the definitive Prophet of God the Father before all believers and, as Simeon prophesied (Lk 2:34), at the same time, is a “sign of contradiction” for all those who do not want to accept his testimony and message of salvation.
“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.”
- Here we see the initial amazement and positive acceptance of Jesus by the people of Nazareth. However, their attitude turned into incredulity and hostility due to their PRIDE. They felt hurt of the fact that Jesus, who comes from their hometown, did not perform in Nazareth the wonders he had carried out elsewhere in Nazareth. They presume that since Jesus comes from the same town as them, they have the special entitlement and right to demand from Jesus to perform miracles to satisfy their vainglory instead of changing their hearts and believing in Him.
- Due to this wrong attitude and their lack of faith, Jesus did not perform any miracle but rather took advantage of the occasion to reproach them using two examples taken from the Old Testament (cf. 1 Kings 17:9 and 2 Kings 5:14), which show that one needs to be well-disposed if miracles are to lead to faith.
- The result? Jesus’ words wounded their pride that they are ready to kill him. See how much evil pride can do? This is the reason why we have to ask God for the gift of humility and struggle as well to forget ourselves and overcome our disordered desire to be the center of attention. Only the humble can understand and accept Jesus, His teachings and His Church and receive graces from Him. God, however, resists the proud.
- Jesus Christ, the Messiah, has a threefold office: He is King, Priest and the definitive Prophet, As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches in n. 437:
“The word ‘Christ’ comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, which means ‘anointed’. It became the name proper to Jesus only because he accomplished perfectly the divine mission that ‘Christ’ signifies. In effect, in Israel those consecrated to God for a mission that he gave were anointed in his name. This was the case for kings, for priests and, in rare instances, for prophets. This had to be the case all the more so for the Messiah whom God would send to inaugurate his kingdom definitively. IT WAS NECESSARY THAT THE MESSIAH BE ANOINTED BY THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD AT ONCE AS KING AND PRIEST, AND ALSO AS PROPHET (cf. Is 61: 1; Lk 4, 16 – 21).JESUS FULFILLED THE MESSIANIC HOPE OF ISRAEL IN HIS THREEFOLD OFFICE OF PRIEST, PROPHET AND KING.”
Dear friends, Jesus wants us to accept Him as our Savior, to believe in him, to hope in Him and to love Him: to follow Him faithfully, live in Him and for Him. BUT ACCEPTANCE OF CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOR DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE SHOULD BE PRESUMPTOUS OF OUR SALVATION NOR DOES IT IMPLY THAT WE ARE TO BE PASSIVE. RATHER, OUR FAITH AND HOPE IN HIM SHOULD BE MANIFESTED, WITH THE HELP OF HIS GRACE, BY STRIVING DAILY TO CARRY OUT WITH WORKS OF CHARITY as the 2nd reading taken from St. Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians 1 Cor 12:31–13:13 exhorts us:
“Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way.
If I speak in human and angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Have a great Sunday and week ahead! God bless you and your family!
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PHOTO SOURCE: Del Parson, “The Savior” in http://www.truthbook.com/images/site_images/Del_Parson_The_Savior_300.jpg (Kudos to Mr. Del Parson for this marvelous painting! May God bless you and inspire more people to pray through your beautiful artworks.) Photo used without intention of infringing copyright laws. All rights belong to the painter.