He Passed Through the Midst of Them and Went Away

After he was tempted in the desert, Jesus went to the synagogue and inaugurated his public mission (cf. Luke 4, 14-23). At the end of his inaugural message, “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips .” The Gospel we meditate on today is in continuity with this episode.

A Prophet is Not Accepted in his Native Place

While still in the Synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus makes a surprising remark that contradicts the appreciation he just received from the crowd. He says: “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his native place.” On hearing this, the same crowd that praised Jesus turns against him. They became furious, drove him out of the town, and let him to the brow of the hill to hurl him down headlong, but he passed through their midst and went away. We have here a prefiguration of the agony of Jesus. We would see the same attitude from the crowd on Palm Sunday. After singing “Hosanna to the son of David! They later shouted, “Crucify him, crucify him.”

Telling the Truth That Hurts Sometimes

John 1, 11-12 says, “He came to his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Right from his birth, Jesus became a sign of contradiction. It is sometimes said that familiarity breeds contempt. Those in the synagogue felt they knew Jesus enough, yet they failed to recognize who he really was. This Gospel reminds us that when we really stand for the truth of the Gospel, we should be ready to suffer rejection and persecution. And this rejection sometimes could come from those close to us. However, we should remember that what makes us brothers and sisters of Jesus is our faithfulness to the will of God the Father.

God’s Salvation is For All

Why did Jesus’ teaching infuriate those in the synagogue? By taking the example of Elijah, who was sent to a widow in a foreign land (Zarephath), and Elisha, who cured Naaman, the Syrian, Jesus touches on an essential point in the relationship with God. God does not discriminate. Rather, God reveals himself and gives grace to anyone who does his will. Those who listened to Jesus in the synagogue must have understood that Jesus was challenging them in the privilege they thought to have as being descendants of Abraham. The same could be said of us. Is it enough to be baptized and attend church regularly? Do these guarantee our personal knowledge and encounter with Christ? Maybe what is essential for Christ is allowing ourselves to be transformed daily, challenged by his saving Word.

The Word of God is Quite Challenging

Far from being discouraged, when Jesus passed through the mist of the crowd, he went his way and continued to preach the Gospel. And again, the people got amazed at the authority with which he spoke. By our baptism, we became prophets, priests, and kings. We can exercise our prophetic calls by learning from Jesus’ life. When we allow the Word of God to challenge us, we can become the living Gospel for others. Therefore, we are encouraged to listen to the Word of God with sincere and open hearts.

But He Passed Through the Midst of Them and Went Away

“Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, wants to lead us to this way of universal fraternity, this way of Love. Those who accept him experience the great joy of being children of God. What counts most for God is our little efforts to follow Christ, nurture the deep desire to grow in the way of the Gospel, and not give up. When we share in his agony, we will also experience the indescribable joy of Resurrection.

[Readings: 2 Kgs 5:1-15ab; Lk 4:24-30]

Fr. Alex Igbozuruike

Fr Alexius. C. IGBOZURIKE, is a priest of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He is a chaplain at our Lady of Lourdes’ Sanctuary in France. To contact him, Sanctuaire Notre Dame de Lourdes, Maison des Chapelains, 1 Avenue Mgr. Théas, 65108, Lourdes Cedex, France. Email : [email protected]


  1. Chanele Jacksin on March 13, 2023 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for God’s salvation is for all. Your message that
    “God does not discriminate. Rather, God reveals himself and gives grace to anyone who does his will.”
    These words and the examples you shared of Elijah and Naaman made me ask: Why is there such discrimination in the United States Catholic church towards non-white people. There is a lack of desire for full inclusion. We go to Mass yet we hate those who are not like us?. How can we change hearts and minds?

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