Based on the Gospel of Luke 1:1-4; 14-21
A hometown visit. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus, having begun teaching, goes back to Nazareth, the town where he grew up. He goes to the synagogue and reads a passage from the book of Isaiah in the Hebrew Scriptures. The words had been written many years earlier and said the Messiah would come and would do many great and wonderful things. These words were on a “scroll,” a large roll of paper. Jesus read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
When Jesus finished reading, he handed the scroll back to the attendant, and sat down. Everyone looked directly at Jesus. Then he said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” In other words, Jesus is telling them he is the Messiah.
Jesus was doing what the Scriptures described. He preached; he prayed over people – the sick were healed, the blind could see, and the lame could walk. He taught people about how much God loves them. Jesus brought the good news.
Jesus’ reputation for preaching and miracles had spread throughout the region. As he spoke to the people of Nazareth, they marveled at his preaching and his appeal as a speaker. Jesus’ spoken words will begin to sink in.
As a little Jewish boy growing up in Nazareth with Mary and Joseph, Jesus learned about the Hebrew Scriptures and all the prayer and traditions of his Jewish faith. As a young man, he learned to read the Scriptures himself. He studied them, prayed over them, and went to the synagogue regularly.
As we grow up, we learn all the prayers and traditions of our Catholic faith. We go to Mass, read the Bible, pray and ask God to help us understand what the Scriptures tell us. By our words and actions we are then to tell others about Jesus and his good news.
Today’s Gospel doesn’t tell us what the people of Nazareth thought of Jesus when he told them he was the Messiah. We’ll hear about it in next Sunday’s Gospel. The people’s reaction was something else.