January 31, 2010

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C

Jeremiah 1:4-10,  Psalm 71:1-6,  I Corinthians 13:1-13,  Luke 4:21-30




Our gospel for today tell us that, after Jesus’ disappointing visit to his hometown of Nazareth, he “went on his way.”  No matter what came up in Jesus’ life, no matter what barriers, what distractions, what delays he faced, Jesus “went on his way “ to live out his call, to complete his mission in the world, to the cross where he would declare, “It is finished.” (Jn.19:30)  On this side of Easter, we know, of course, that God wasn’t finished.  Thank goodness!


You and I are called to follow Christ Jesus on his way.  We are called to feed the hungry as Jesus did (Mt. 14:15-21, Mk. 6:30-44, Lk. 9:12-17, Jn. 6:5-14), those who are hungry for the Word of God as well as those who are hungry for food.  Like Jesus, we are called to heal the sick, those who are afflicted in body, mind, or spirit (e.g., Jn.9, Mk.5:1-20, Mk.7:21-30) wherever we may meet them.  We are called to comfort and strengthen the broken-hearted, those in our lives who are grieving and dealing with loss just as Jesus did (Lk.7:11-15, Jn.11:1-43, Lk.24:13-35).  On the other hand, like both Jeremiah the prophet and Jesus, we are also called to afflict the comfortable, especially those who abuse their power and position (Jn.2:13-22).  Over and over again in the gospels, we hear of Jesus’ compassion (Mt.14:13-14, 20:33-34,  Mk.8:1-2, Lk.7:11-15).  Compassion, however, is not something we can gin up on our own.  It is a gift of God, grace transforming us from self-centered attention to a focus on others, opening our eyes to the pain and suffering of the world.  When we experience compassion, it is the Love of God issuing through our hearts, calling us to be God’s hands and feet in the here and now to meet the needs set before us.  Because we are gifted in different ways and have different skills and abilities, how we live out our calls will be different for each of us.


If we choose to follow Christ Jesus on his way, we may expect to find a cross prepared for us; the way of Jesus is the way of the cross.  But just as God wasn’t finished with Jesus on Good Friday, God’s saving grace brings us to our own Easter, to new life in God’s steadfast love.


Pat Horn, Author                                          Audrey Horn Bruno