Jesus’ Mic Drop Moment

First Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19

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.

But do you gird your loins;
stand up and tell them
all that I command you.
Be not crushed on their account,
as though I would leave you crushed before them;
for it is I this day
who have made you a fortified city,
a pillar of iron, a wall of brass,
against the whole land:
against Judah’s kings and princes,
against its priests and people.
They will fight against you but not prevail over you,
for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15-17

R. (cf. 15ab) I will sing of your salvation.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. I will sing of your salvation.

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:31—13:13

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.

Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.

Gospel: Luke 4:21-30

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.

jan 31

Today’s Gospel continues where last week’s left off, as Jesus concludes His reading from the prophet Isaiah: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Saint Luke tells us that “all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.”

So, how is it that, a mere seven verses later, the people are ready to kill Jesus?

The Jews expected a messiah—a military leader—to free them from their long-suffering occupation by the Romans. They welcomed Jesus’s words about liberty for captives and freedom for the oppressed because those aligned with their understanding of God granting them victory.

It soon became clear, however, that Jesus was preaching a much deeper form of freedom. And—most controversially—Jesus confirmed that the coming deliverance was intended for everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike.

Mic drop.

The Jews were definitely not expecting that, as Jews and Gentiles outright hated one another.

What the Jewish people didn’t understand is that, while salvation was always foretold to come from their people, Almighty God never intended salvation to be for them alone, because His mercy and love is lavish like that.

Sometimes it’s hard to clearly see how God is working in our lives, isn’t it? Things don’t always happen according to our expectations. Our plans get left in the dust, our hopes are seemingly smashed. Maybe we don’t truly believe that, despite our circumstances, God’s mighty hand is there with us all along.

Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend that, as Saint Paul told the Romans, while we were still sinners, God sent His Son to save us.  Sometimes, from the depths of my discouragement and apathy, it’s tough to understand how God could ever want to save a wretch like me.

Yet he does.

He comes to bring glad tidings to the poor.

He comes to proclaim liberty to the captives.

He comes to bring sight to those blinded by their sinfulness.

He comes to let all the oppressed go free.

He comes with a love for each of us that is so exquisitely lavish it cannot be contained—not by a scroll, not by a synagogue, not by a perplexed people, not by this broken world.

[Tweet “Let us praise Him for setting us free.”]

Do we truly believe that Jesus comes to free us, or do we resist His love, frustrated that He would dare defy our expectations? Let’s consider the times in our lives when God’s ways were —thankfully—not our ways. And let us praise Him for setting us free.

photo credit

Heather Renshaw is a writer, speaker, and uplifter on a mission to love and serve God with her husband and five children in the Pacific NW. You can learn more about her here.

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