In this gospel Jesus has just read from the prophet of Isaiah. In this prophecy, Jesus proclaims that He is the anointed, He is the long-awaited messiah. At first the people of Nazareth marvel at His words. But now we hear that they begin to doubt. Is this not the carpenter’s son? How can He claim to be the messiah? And the people grow angry and hateful toward Jesus. They want to throw Him over the cliff.
Imagine, if you were in the presence of Jesus, is that how you would respond, with anger and hatred? If we are honest about this, sometimes we do become angry, and hatred fills our hearts. Even if our anger is not directed to God, but someone else, we know that Jesus is in everyone. That means we are angry at God. This is not good!
We have been talking about the upcoming synod discussions. At the synodal meeting, we will be placing ourselves in the presence of God to discern His Will. We will need to remove anger and hatred from our hearts to participate. We will pray for faith, hope, and love in all our actions and thoughts. To help us focus on the mission of the synod, six questions have been developed. In our group discussions we will have time for everyone to share their thoughts and ideas. If you cannot be there at this time, there is an online portal where you can participate. Everyone that wants to respond will have the opportunity. Here is the list of questions for you to consider now. I ask that you prayerfully consider each question.
- How would you describe Jesus’ presence in your life?
- Where do you see Jesus at work in your local community?
- Where do you see a need for the healing power of Jesus in your life or in your community?
- What or who helps you to know God more fully?
- What steps do you hear the Holy Spirit asking us to take to deepen our commitment to the Church’s mission of spreading the Gospel and making disciples?
- What could the Church do (if anything) to help you, and to be a more meaningful part of your life?
Let me end with the Synodal Prayer to the Holy Spirit. Please keep a copy of this prayer and offer this prayer often.
We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
As we gather together in Your name.
With You alone to guide us,
Make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go
And how we are to pursue it.
We are weak and sinful;
Do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance
Lead us down the wrong path
Nor partiality influence our actions.
Let us find in you our unity
So that we may journey together
To eternal life
And not stray from the way of truth
And what is right.
All this we ask of you,
Who are at work in every place and time,
In the communion of the Father
And the Son,
Forever and ever. Amen
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen