March 21, 2022 – Monday of the Third Week of Lent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/032122.cfm)
God is for everyone. God does not belong to any particular race, culture or any group of people. Hence, no one can monopolize God. This also means that we cannot monopolize grace. And it is impossible to monopolize the gift of salvation because God’s nature is wider than what we can imagine or think of.
This is what Jesus wanted to realize for his townspeople. There in Nazareth, when he went home, Jesus tried to open the minds and hearts of his friends and neighbors to know God better. The people seemed to only understand that the Lord God only belongs to the Jewish people. This was such a narrow-minded belief about the Lord God.
Yet, this narrow-minded awareness of God led people to nurture hatred and violence against people whom they thought would not agree with them. This, basically, happened to Jesus. When Jesus began to teach them that God is for all, people began to turn sour. When Jesus made them aware of the story of a widow in Zarephath and Naaman, the Syrian, who despite being non-believers, were also favored by God’s grace, the people took offense.
Jesus told the people of what the Holy Scriptures revealed to them, yet, his own people were more unbelieving than the non-believers themselves. The people could not accept what Jesus taught them. They only wanted to believe what they liked to believe. This was the reason why they rejected Jesus teaching and Jesus himself as well. This was also the reason why they became furious when Jesus confronted them of their false belief and selective memory. Thus, the unbelieving and unwelcoming hearts of the people, indeed, turned them hateful and violent. They drove Jesus out of Nazareth and wanted to throw him down from the hill.
Today, Jesus is also challenging us and inviting us to confront our narrow-mindedness and selective memory of things. Jesus calls us to be welcoming and to always have a heart that desires to know God better. May we also grow to become a welcoming and a true believing community. Hinaut pa.