LK 4: 21-30


photo by fr tam nguyen


As I began to read the Bible again from the Old Testament onwards, I realized why Elijah and Elisha were mighty heroes for the Jews. They were simply amazing, with all the miracles God worked through them. Imagine Elijah resurrecting a widow’s son (as the Lord Jesus remembers in the Gospel), calling fire from heaven, and parting the waters of the Jordan, among others.


Elisha, inheriting the spirit of his master Elijah, cured the leprous commander Naaman (as Jesus again mentions), prophesying a child birth and resurrecting the child when it died, and multiplication of loaves to feed a hundred people, and many more!


Though amazed, the people had a hard time accepting that there was more to Jesus than they could see. Wasn’t he just the carpenter “son of Joseph?” How can he be the fulfillment of Scriptures? Surely, they heard of his marvelous miracles and powerful preaching, but he could not be greater than Elijah or Elisha. At this point the Lord Jesus reminded his listeners that both these prophets were sent and received more warmly by foreigners than by their own people.


If the people took the time to give Jesus a second look, they would have discovered that indeed there was something more to him than eyes could see. Jesus worked miracles of resurrection of the dead, but more, Jesus himself was the Resurrection and Life. Jesus cured many illnesses and sufferings, but more, Jesus himself the Restorer of all things old and broken. In the Lord Jesus, the Father has manifested himself to his people.


How easy it is for us to miss the value of people because we look at them superficially, based on our biases or prejudices. While we extol others we find agreeable, we immediately dismiss those who do not fit in the mold of our expectations. In doing so, we cause the world to be divided, and we lose the chance to benefit from the gift that the other person has for us and for the family, community, school or office. By failing to exert more effort in appreciating others, we fall deeper into our own blindness and ignorance. At times perhaps, we even miss the chance of a lifetime!


This Sunday, it might be good to reflect on our relationship with Jesus. Who is he to us? Do we care to know him better in his Word, in the sacraments, in the silence of personal prayer and personal study of our faith?  Let this reflection on Jesus also push us to see people around us with more openness and appreciation, with a spirit of welcome and discovery. There is more to Jesus that we think we already know. There is more to our neighbors than we think we already know.