Fr. Francis Scaria
Already in the early part of Jesus’ ministry there is an apparent failure. When Jesus was talking in the synagogue at Nazareth, the people were filled with rage. “They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.” (Lk 4:28-30). The response Jesus received in His own home town was too bad. He moves then to Capernaum.
We know from the descriptions in the Gospels that Capernaum became the second home for Him and He lived there for the rest of His ministry. A lot of preaching was carried out there. He worked plenty of miracles there. But it is alarming to listen to Jesus in Mt 11:23-24: “23. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you." The people of Capernaum did not respond to his preaching or to the “deeds of power” done by Him.
Why is it that Jesus, the Son of God Himself faced such a stiff opposition when He preached the Good News of Salvation? The answer is evident in Jesus’ reply to Pilate, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here." (Jn 18:36) The fact that we do not belong to this world makes us strangers. However we are not strangers without any qualification. We are pilgrim people. We do have our eyes of faith fixed on the world to come.
Jesus also warned us, “Servants are not greater than their master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (Jn 15:20). The real Church faces opposition and persecution. To avoid persecution one may use techniques of appeasement, adjustment and compromise. Such a methodology is unchristian. John 6 we find an compromising Jesus. He stood His ground even when “many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him” (Jn 6:66).
St. Paul urges Timothy: “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.” (2 Tim 4:1-2)
St. Paul’s advice to the Ephesians is equally relevant for us too. “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.” (Eph 6:10-18)
MUSINGS : 1-25,