Into the synagogue

Published August 31, 2020, 12:46 AM

by Manila Bulletin

In his homecoming to Nazareth, Jesus chooses the synagogue as his first destination. As a Jewish adult male, He has the privilege of reading from Scriptures and expounding on the text. He proclaims a passage from Isaiah about God’s anointed who would bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed. Jesus declares to the congregation, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Those who come to the synagogue service must be familiar with Jesus because a number of them recognize Him to be “the son of Joseph.” They esteem Jesus and His words, but He is able to read their thoughts. His town mates want to see things they have heard were done in Capernaum.

In exasperation over their shallow request to be entertained by miracles, Jesus mentions two pagans from the Old Testament. The widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian were both blessed by God in a miraculous manner. God’s favor was extended not only to Jews but also to pagans.

How do you see that God’s favor is also given to our own time?

Gospel • LUKE  4:16-30

Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had grown up, and went according to His custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: 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.

Rolling up the scroll, He handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at Him. He said to them, “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 He passed through the midst of them and went away.

SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: