Readings: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Luke 4:16-20
We spent a month of Sundays on Chapter Six of John’s Gospel, the Bread of Life discourse, which is also the inauguration of Jesus’ messianic ministry. Today’s Gospel is Luke’s version of Jesus launching that ministry. Each of the four Gospels tells the story with very different incidents but they all follow the same pattern: after an initially enthusiastic response from the people, opposition pushes back against Jesus. Yes, there’s something about crowd psychology represented here but I also sense something deeper at work.
Recall the opening of the Book of Genesis. The Spirit of God, like a bird, broods over the primeval waters. A mother bird brooding over her nest of eggs is an opposition of instincts. She deprives herself of flight and food to keep her eggs warm and protected. Opposition is the dynamic of creation and creation is what the opening of Genesis describes.
And this is true of Jesus in Chapter Four of Luke’s Gospel as he interprets the Prophecy of Isaiah in the Synagogue of Nazareth. The ultimate opposition of his neighbors–he’s in his home town– will focus, define, stimulate the New Creation which is his messianic ministry, the DNA, if you will, of his parables, his healings, his Passion and Resurrection. They all involve opposites, opposition faced and resolved.
In Jesus’ New Creation, opposition (outer conflict or inner contradiction) could be the same for us if we don’t fear, try to escape or eliminate it.