By Devin Watkins
Reflecting on the day’s Gospel (Lk 4:21-30), Pope Francis explored the reaction of Jesus’ compatriots that Jesus himself is the one on whom the Spirit of the Lord has descended and has sent to carry out God’s mission of salvation for humanity.
They are skeptical of Jesus’ claim, said the Pope, and demand he work miracles in their midst. Jesus, however, refuses.
Faith, not miracles
“God wants faith, they want miracles”, he said, “God wants to save everyone, and they want a Messiah for their own advantage.”
Pope Francis said the people from Jesus’ hometown were called “to open their hearts to the gratuitousness and universality of salvation”. But they rebelled, he said, and even turned their rejection into violent rage, to the point they were about to throw Jesus off a cliff.
Rejection and defeat
“Jesus, in living the mission entrusted to him by the Father, knows well that he must face fatigue, rejection, persecution, and defeat,” he said.
This, said Pope Francis, is the price that “authentic prophecy is called to pay”, even today.
“Hard-nosed rejection, however, does not discourage Jesus, nor does it stop the journey and the fruitfulness of his prophetic action.”
The Holy Father said today’s world, too, needs to see the Lord’s disciples acting as prophets, “people who are courageous and persevering in responding to the Christian vocation.”
He said these are people who follow faith and not miracles, are dedicated to the service of all and do not exclud any, and are “open to accepting the will of the Father in themselves and who commit themselves to witnessing to it faithfully for others.”
May we all, prayed Pope Francis, “grow and walk in the same apostolic zeal for the Kingdom of God that animated Jesus’ mission.”