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Rough Cuts: No prophet is honored in his own country

Today is Sunday, February 3, 2019. It is the first Sunday of the month but is the fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Catholic Church liturgical and sanctoral calendar.
This Sunday’s Psalm is, “I will sing of your salvation.”
The 1st Reading for the day is from Jeremiah 1:4 – 5, 17 – 19. It says:
A word of Yahweh came to me, “Even before I formed you in the womb I have known you; even before you were born I has set you apart, and appointed you a prophet to the nations!”
But you, get ready for action; stand up and say to them all that I command you. Be not scared of them or I will scare you in their presence! See, I will make you a fortified city, a pillar of iron with walls of bronze, against all the nations, against the kings and princes of Judah, against the priests and the people of the land. They will fight against you but shall not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue you – it is Yahweh who speaks.”
Today’s 2nd Reading is from 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13.
Be that as it may, set your hearts on the most precious gifts, and I will show you a much better way. If I could speak all the human and angelic tongues, but had no love, I would only be sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, knowing secret things, with all kinds of knowledge, and have faith great enough to remove mountains, but had no love, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I had to the poor, and even give up my body to be burned, if I am without love, it would be of no value to me.
Love is patient, kind, without envy. It is not boastful or arrogant. It is not ill-mannered, nor does it seek its own interest. Love overcomes anger and forgets offenses. It does not take delight in wrong, but rejoices in truth.
Love excuses everything, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love will never end. Prophecies may cease, tongues be silent and knowledge disappear. For knowledge grasps something of the truth and prophecy as well. And when what is perfect comes, everything imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I thought and reasoned like a child, but when I grew up, I gave up childish ways. Likewise, at present, we see dimly, as in a mirror, but, then, it shall be face-to-face. Now, we know, in part, but then I will know as I am known. Now, we have faith, hope and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.
This Sunday’s Gospel is from Luke 4:21-30. It says:
Then he said to them, “Today, these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.”
All agreed with him, and were lost in wonder, while he spoke of the grace of God. Nevertheless they asked, “Who is this but Joseph’s Son?” So he said, “Doubtless you will quote me the saying: Doctor, heal yourself! Do here, in your town, what they say you did in Capernaum.”
Jesus added, “No prophet is honored in his own country. Truly, I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens withheld rain for three years and six months and a great famine came over the whole land. Yet, Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow of Zarephath, in the country of Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha, the prophet; and no one was healed except Naaman, the Syrian.”
On hearing these words, the whole assembly became indignant. They rose up and brought him out of the town, to the edge of the hill on which Nazareth is built, intending to throw him down the cliff. But he passed through their midst and went his way.
READ: God fortifies Jeremiah for the message he must deliver. St. Paul reminds us that no matter what our mission or message, it must be rooted in love. Even if it is, as Jesus discovers in his hometown, there is no guarantee that the message will be well-received.
REFLECT: Whatever we do or say in service of the Lord, what truly matters is the love that inspires us. Whether we are teachers, preachers, prophets, or even martyrs, our words and deeds mean nothing if they are rooted in anything other than love. Have we ever encountered a teacher without love? A preacher without love? A prophet who delights in denouncing evil but has no spirit of love? What of ourselves? Let us go back to Paul and reflect on the qualities of love.


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