Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

By Jim Kelly, s.j.

As February begins we already notice the sun changing. Not only are the days noticeably longer (I guess about five minutes longer each day), but the sun seems to carry a lot more heat. We are obviously moving to the long sunny warm days of spring.

At the same time this is the coldest time of year. Even after looking at the weather report we are surprised at how cold it feels when we go outside, and shiver when we hear the house or trees cracking in the night.

I wonder what the deer or the little squirrels feel like. They must also notice the longer days and warmer sun, and yet their own lives are most in danger now. Some may starve and some will freeze to death.

In today’s Gospel from Luke, Jesus arrives back in his hometown of Nazareth and receives a very warm reception: “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.”

Within a few minutes, though, the same crowd of people wanted to throw him off a cliff.

Jesus knows and proclaims that the Kingdom is near at hand, and the people have a sense of joyful anticipation. Something new is here, with real authority. But it is also the most dangerous of times and there will be division and confusion and even death.

How do we look forward to the good things that are coming, even in the midst of challenges? How do anticipate the heat and light even in moments of cold and darkness?

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