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The Bitter

 

Truth The most popular speakers are the ones who tell us what we want to hear. However, when speakers raise truths which make us uncomfortable or cause us to look carefully at ourselves, they usually go down like a lead balloon. Such is the case in today’s gospel.

Jesus is speaking in the synagogue at his home town of Nazareth. His first words delight the congregation, but the mood turns sour when Jesus tells the people that the good news he brings is meant for outsiders too: for foreigners and sinners. This isn’t the kind of good news the people of Nazareth want to hear. They are enraged and try to throw him off a cliff. Jesus was declaring that God has no favourites, that all are equal shareholders of God’s love no matter who we are, where we come from or whatever race we belong to. We receive divine favour freely from the unconditional love of God for us. In today’s second reading, St. Paul also speaks about the primacy of love. What happened in the synagogue happens even today in some of our church communities. We may carry personal prejudices with us into our places of worship, and if we do, we can shut our minds off to the message God wants to give us. This is a terrible shame because we are all prophets by our baptism, called to share in Christ’s ministry of speaking the truth – even when it is a challenging or bitter truth.

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