Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Scripture Readings

Reflection on Scripture

Today’s Gospel brings us to the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown. He proclaims that what the prophet Isaiah proclaimed about the Messiah, was fulfilled in His presence among them. The people heard the proclamation and said isn’t he just an ordinary man, a carpenter, the son of Joseph? Jesus challenged them on their lack of faith and the inability of the people to accept Him.

Who does Jesus accept?

We are told in Scripture, the person with a humble and contrite heart. Humility is the gift of grace to accept ourselves as we are, sinners, and to accept God as He is, our Redeemer and benevolent Creator full of understanding and mercy.

A contrite heart is a person who does not stand in the way of God’s redeeming work and allows the Holy Spirit to freely conform their will to the will of God and to grow in holiness and the very likeness of Jesus.

The people who had these qualities, Jesus refers to in the Gospel. Jesus refers to a poor widow from Sidon, a Gentile, and Naaman, a Syrian and a Gentile. He spoke to the Jewish people and told them that their faith was not strong enough as the faith that God found in the Gentiles mentioned above. The Jewish people, who had waited thousands of years for the Messiah, are told that their faith is not strong enough. In our Catholic tradition, we are Baptized, Confirmed, and participate in the Eucharist and too often continue to follow the rituals and stay at a standstill in

terms of growth and development in our spiritual lives. Maybe we need to look at ourselves and ask for the grace to recognize the areas we need to grow and the grace to want to grow.

How strong is our faith? Is it strong enough to place our trust in God? If we cannot place our faith in God, then in whom do we place our faith?

St. Therese, in Story of a Soul, describes her relationship with God as her being a blank canvas and God is the painter stroking His brush tenderly and making a new creation in those who accept His grace. St. Therese’s abandonment as a child of God, allowed her to grow in holiness and give glory to God by her faith and works. Are we ready to do the same?

May God continue to look graciously on us and bring into closer relationship with Him.

Deacon Phil