Do We Know Jesus?
Gospel Reflection for September 4, 2023
“He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, ‘Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.’ And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, ‘Isn’t this the son of Joseph?’” (Luke 4:16-22 NABRE)
How beautiful and exciting is today’s Gospel! Picture the scene: Jesus is in his home town, where He had grown up. He stands to do a reading in the synagogue, among His family and childhood friends. He says the words of Isaiah, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” and “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives.” And then declares, that this scripture has been fulfilled in their hearing!
All of the people who knew Jesus must have been stirred with feelings of admiration, confusion, and worry. Perhaps some of the people believed Him, having heard of His many miracles. However, many of the people present probably questioned how Jesus could speak such blasphemous words! If someone we know and are close to declared something so absolutely crazy to us, we would probably have some questions and doubts as well.
But Jesus made Himself clear. He was the prophesied Messiah that came to fulfill the many scriptures recorded about Him.
Jesus was surrounded by people who knew Him when had He announced this, and yet, they didn’t really know Him. They sought to throw Him off a cliff and to condemn Him to death because they believed He was blaspheming.
We think we know Jesus and are close to Him. Yet, how often do we fail to see Who He truly is, or how He is working in our lives? How often do we question Him and His ways because we aren’t truly in relationship with Him? Like Jesus’ family and friends in today’s Gospel, how often do we fail to recognize the Lord?
May we always seek to know Jesus and grow closer to Him more and more each and every single day. May we learn about Him through prayer, reading the scriptures, going to Mass, and by living out our faith. When we truly know the Lord, we will be better at recognizing Him and His works in our lives. Unlike the people of Jesus’ hometown, we will be able to trust Him in faith, and love Him more truly.