3 Easter, Year One[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 25 (morning) // 9, 15 (evening)
1 John 3:19-4:6
In some ways, the conclusion of today’s gospel passage is something we’d expect from a post-resurrection appearance, and yet it occurs at the very outset of Jesus’s ministry. When a raging crowd drives Jesus out of town and to the edge of a cliff, Jesus somehow manages to pass “through the midst of them” and go on his way. How does the body of Jesus slip through everyone’s fingers?
As our gospels at the Sunday Eucharists this Easter have shown, the nature of Jesus’s post-resurrection body is difficult to grasp. But as today’s gospel shows, it’s in Jesus’s very nature to elude people’s grasp. The audience in today’s gospel has extreme trouble wrapping their heads around Jesus’s proclamation of a non-ethnocentric mission.
The people are listening to Jesus teach in his hometown of Nazareth. They seem impressed with Jesus, but perhaps Jesus detects their pride and attachment to Jesus as one of their own. They think they have some special claim on him, and they may have some extra investment in his success.
But Jesus points out that a hometown should not be the center of prophetic ministry. Jesus reminds the people who watched him grow up that the prophet Elijah could have fed many widows during Israel’s years of famine, and yet he was sent to a widow outside of Israel. Likewise, the prophet Elisha could have healed many Israeli lepers, and yet he healed a leper in Syria.
If we focus too intently on our special claim to Jesus, and on what Jesus can do for us, then his teaching and his spirit and his resurrected body will elude our grasp. He might pass right through us on his way somewhere else. How is God inviting us to unfurl our fingers and reach for Jesus in our midst and on his way?
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.