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The Word, The Truth

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Continuing the story of Jesus’ homecoming (in Nazareth), and following his inaugural speech, we see the intriguing response(s) to Jesus’ proclamation (Lk 4:21-30). At his claim that the Isaian passage is fulfilled in him in the eschatological ‘today’(v21), the first part of the response seems favorable (v22a), referring to the ‘gracious words’ that came from his mouth. The phrase ‘logoi tës charitos’ ( λόγοις τῆς χάριτος ) literally means ‘words of charity’, is a Lucan expression identified with the salvific word (Acts 14:3) that is proclaimed and accompanied with signs and wonders that builds and gives inheritance (Acts 20:32) to those who believe. Jesus thus speaks as a prophet concerning the salvific plan of God being realized in him as prophesied by Isaiah (6:1-2). And this is disconcerting to his townmates. Thus the favorable comment turns into bewilderment and later hostility and even murderous intent (Lk 4:28–29).

The rejection of his town mates is based on the fact of his local origin. Jesus illustrates from the biblical past (cf prophets Elijah 1Kgs 17 and Elisha 2Kgs 5), such is a sufficient ground for non-acceptance of a prophet. Furthermore the implication that God’s favor is now extended to all people and salvation is universal thereby smacking down their exclusivism makes it more difficult for them to accept him.

What Jesus proclaimed, the truth about the salvific plan of God, and the necessary response to it may at times difficult to comprehend and more so, to follow. But it is what it is- gracious words, the saving words. As Jesus tells his disciples, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life”(Jn. 6:63). He himself is the Word “in the beginning” (Jn. 1:1). Do we really believe Him as our Lord and Savior?

As a prophet Jesus ‘comforted the disturbed and disturbed the comfortable’. His word produces various reactions, many of them painful. For His word is indeed a two-edged sword that both cuts and heals. The prophets before him did this as well (cf Jer 1:4-5; 17-19) and experienced antagonism and opposition. If we really believe his gracious words we are called by him to be prophets as well. Are we ready to be rejected and even hated? Jesus forewarns us: “if the world hates you, realize that it hated me first…If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:18,20). But he promised: “I am with you to deliver you” (Jer 1:19); “I am with you always until the end of the age” (Mt 29:20).

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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