Homily for Monday of the 3rd Week of Lent
Many times throughout His preaching, Jesus made those who were hearing His message uncomfortable. Speaking the Truth will often cause that reaction in others. But Jesus’ words were not meant to be condemnatory. In fact, they were meant to be the exact opposite. He simply wanted His people to recognize how they were failing to follow God’s plan in their lives and to be led to a moment of conversion.
Sadly though, Jesus also knew that many of those within the Jewish community would never accept His message. We see that in today’s Gospel. The people of His village literally want to kill Him after He speaks His message, they want to throw Him headlong off a cliff. And it proves the exact point that He was making.
Jesus tells the story about the widow of Zarephath and Naaman, the Syrian, to those who were listening to Him. Those stories make an interesting point. The Sidonians and the Syrians were both outsiders of the Jewish community. So, for Jesus to remind the Jews that God used outsiders to manifest His glory and His power rather than doing it for someone who was Jewish caused a little sting. It was meant to prove a point: that if the Jews weren’t going to listen to what the Lord was asking them to do, He was going to bring the message of salvation to people outside of the Jewish community…and eventually that happens by the Lord using the apostles to bring the Gentiles into the Christian Church.
What does this mean for us though? The Lord wants each of us to be better disciples and to recognize how He is calling us into deeper relationship with Him and the Father. Are our eyes open to how the Lord is revealing Himself to us? Sometimes, that revelation might come in an unexpected way so that He can wake us up, just like He was trying to do with those from His home village.
How is God wanting to unexpectedly reveal Himself to us today? Will that revelation touch a nerve and compel us to respond with anger and fear? Or will it bring us to a deeper sense of wonder and awe about who God is? May that be our reflection for today.
Painting: The Prophet Elijah with the Widow of Zarephath and her Son, Abraham van Dijck. Statens Museum for Kunst, National Gallery of Denmark. Used under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication license. Wikimedia.