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Monday, September 1, 2014

Are you easily swayed by preachers of the so-called prosperity gospel? Or do you follow the sometimes harsh demands of Christ? - Daily Reflections September 1,2014


THE CROSS OR EMPTY PROMISES?
 
There are three parts in today’s passage. First, Jesus returns to Nazareth and reads lines from the prophet Isaiah that would characterize His entire ministry. He did not come on His own but the Spirit is upon Him. He did not come to free the Jews but to show mercy, love and compassion to those who suffer. And the people praise Him and love Him for that.
       But then comes the second: Jesus realizes that His townmates praise Him because they expect Him to work miracles. So He has some harsh words for them to wake them up and direct them to a proper attitude.
       The third part is the saddest: His townmates reject Him and they even want to kill Him. Jesus leaves Nazareth, never to return.
       Jesus always speaks straight to the point. In the First Reading, St. Paul spoke similarly. He was in Greece when philosophers went around teaching, using great words and lofty philosophical thoughts. St. Paul made it clear that, like Jesus, he does not try to win his audience with lofty words and ideas. He teaches the unpopular truth about the crucified God, who does not address the mind but appeals to the heart. When the heart is moved, the person becomes convinced.
       Even today, many Catholics are swayed by the clever talks of preachers they see on TV. They try to convince people that if they follow what they preach, the Lord will bless them with everything they need. That’s nicer than listening to Jesus, who says that if we want to follow Him we have to take up our cross, or to St. Paul, who preaches a crucified Lord.
       If you had been in the synagogue of Nazareth, would you have rejected Jesus because of His harsh words? Or if you belonged to a community of St. Paul, would you rather have listened to the clever philosophers or to Paul who preached the crucified Lord?
       It is up to us whom to follow. May we find the words of the Son of God more convincing than what clever preachers try to sell. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Are you easily swayed by preachers of the so-called prosperity gospel? Or do you follow the sometimes harsh demands of Christ?
 
Lord, it is not easy to follow You. Humanly speaking, You demand too much. But only You have the words of eternal life that will guide me to my goal: to be with You forever.

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