Working with the Word
Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: fulfiilled in your hearing, gracious words, !lled with fury, hurl him down, passed through the midst of them
To the point: “gracious words” to the people of Nazareth about bringing glad tidings of freedom for captives and the oppressed, sight for the blind (see last Sunday's gospel). Hearing these words challenges the people to do what they hear (“fulfiilled in your hearing”), and for this they reject Jesus and want to destroy him. Yet God, whose word Jesus speaks, delivers him (“passed through the midst of them”). Eventually enemies do destroy Jesus on the cross. But do they?
Connecting the Gospel …
... to the first reading: Nehemiah provides details that assure the people the words proclaimed by Ezra were, indeed, the words of God. As Jesus proclaimed glad tidings “in the power of the Spirit,” so must our proclamation of the Good News come from the Spirit who dwells within us. The details of our daily living must assure others that the words we proclaim are, indeed, from God.
... to experience: We are all familiar with the power of words to shape our identity and way of life. Society offers conflicting messages that often pull us in many directions. In the midst of all these competing words, God’s word is the true source of our identity as Christian people.
**From Saint Louis University