Why did Jesus’ own countrymen in Nazareth want to kill him? First, because he spoke the truth – especially the truth about Himself and Who He was – and they could not accept it. Their murmuring makes that much clear. Second, because Jesus highlighted that the great prophets of the Old Testament, Elijah and Elisha, performed miracles among the Gentiles which they did not perform among the Jews. In effect, Jesus was making clear that God’s care extended beyond Israel. To Jesus’ audience, the idea that God would show preferential treatment to the Gentiles was enraging and untenable. Instead of dealing with their own hard-heartedness, they tried to kill the messenger.
The prophets of the Old Testament were constantly rejected by their people because they spoke the hard truth. They defended the poor and powerless against oppression and apathy. It was not an easy task for them, but God sent forth His Spirit to give them the grace and courage to address the social concerns of their day. We are called to be the prophets of this age, challenging our fellow brothers and sisters to look beyond their own interests and tend to the needs of the poor and vulnerable as well. Let us look to Saint Teresa of Calcutta, a true prophet of this age, and follow in her footsteps. Her selfless acts of love towards the poor and marginalized exemplified God’s love for mankind. She understood her calling to promote the life and dignity of all human persons from the moment of conception to natural death. She stated, “My vocation is to belong to Jesus. The work is the fruit of my love and my love is expressed in my work.”
Today’s Tip: As we continue journeying through the season of Lent, let us think about our roles as God’s prophets. Are there any injustices you see going around you? Do you need to be a voice for the voiceless? Is there someone you know that is suffering an injustice? Consider helping those who are in need. In turn, you begin to share the love God has for you with others. In the words of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, “When you know how much God is in love with you then you can only live your life radiating that love.”