Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday of the Third Week of Lent

(II Kings 5:1-15ab; Luke 4:24-30)

The number of Christians in Palestine today is dwindling. Restricted by Israeli preoccupation with security and Muslim radicalism, native Christians of Israel are emigrating to places where they can live in peace. Theirs is the fate that Jesus experiences in the gospel today.

It is curious that Jesus speaks of rejection on the part of his townspeople. He has just inaugurated his ministry with a reading from Isaiah to which the citizenry of Nazareth responds favorably. Then the people start questioning, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” as if they mean to deny any authorization of Jesus from on high. Next Jesus exposes their refusal to believe in him, and they in turn run him out of town.

We must take care not to do the same thing. How can this happen? The attempt to find the “historical Jesus” through scholarship has led to skepticism about his divine origin. Certainly biblical scholarship has contributed abundantly toward real faith. But we have to remember that the original authors recognized Jesus’ uniqueness. They had a vantage point because of their proximity to Jesus’ life and possibly their association with Jesus’ disciples which scholars today for all there eruditeness cannot approach. It is their faith in Jesus as Lord that has been handed down to us.