FOURTH SUNDAY IN THE ORDINARY TIME YEAR C.
3rd February 2019.
Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30.
The gospel of the day presents us with a story of Jesus’ encounter with his own people. Having won their admiration through the gracious words he spoke to them about the kingdom of God, they could not reconcile it with the erroneous foundation on which the community’s unity was founded. The community is united against a common perceived enemy in the Roman invasion of Israel. Restoration of Israel meant for the people a violent revolution against Rome. The messiah is the one that would lead the revolution. Unfortunately, the message of love however astonishing and gracious, is contrary to the imminent revolution in the minds of the people.
The second reading of the day lays emphasis on an important aspect of the kingdom of God, namely love. The demands of love do not accommodate violent revolution which restores only limited peace. The lasting peace that comes from love is alien to the people. St. Paul writes about an excellent way that will bring joy and peace among the people. A cooperation that will alleviate permanently the hardship experienced by all Israel. Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes. Love is what will remind the people that the problem is not with the perceived enemy, the Romans. Love is the reformation of character that members of the kingdom require to build a non-violent community.
The divine support that is promised in the first reading is what we need to share in the building of God’s kingdom on earth. They will fight against you but shall not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you – it is the Lord who speaks.’ The message of the kingdom will expose the Christian to violent oppositions because it contradicts the erroneous foundations of communities. But the power of God is our stronghold for the kingdom of God is the permanent solution to all human predicaments.
Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.