Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 3, 2019
Saturday morning, the “7-day weather forecast” looked pretty bleak. Lots of snow and very cold temperatures were being predicted. But we all know that, at least here in unpredictable Michigan, what is promised…rain or shine…doesn’t always happen. That is why we don’t have total trust in the weather report. I kept checking for updates in hopes of better news. It seemed like everyone I talked to over the weekend was doing the same thing: watching, doubting, hoping, checking again. The weather was a major topic of concern and conversation.
By Sunday evening, there was no change outside or in the reports. The same message was being broadcast. The meteorologists were pretty confident of what was coming our way. Then, on Sunday night, “the closings” began to flash across the TV screen. We were finally convinced. Monday morning, however, it appeared that the “school closings” were premature. They called it wrong AGAIN! It was definitely chilly, but nothing out of the ordinary, and there was no snow…until about 10:00 that is. And then we were believers!
People have always watched for signs of what is in store for the coming day, or week, or season, in terms of weather. And people have always talked about it because survival often depends on it. It seems that we approach salvation in the very same way.
Humankind has always watched for signs from God. And these “signs” of what the future holds have always been a topic of discussion and debate. People share their thoughts and feelings about what they observe and how they interpret what they see or hear. Some are convinced, while others doubt. That’s not a bad thing, either. Unquestioning trust can lead to irrational response to a false sign or a fake prophet.
It’s hard to believe that the people of Nazareth were a hate filled, murderous mob. After all, Jesus was raised among them. They were his family, neighbors, and close friends. On the Sabbath that Luke describes, they were gathered together in prayer. And, like all of Israel, they were watching for the Messiah and hoping that He would come soon. They were wise enough to doubt false signs and fake prophets; they had seen them before. Tragically, they misinterpreted the Sign that God sent in Jesus; they drove Him away.
Through Jesus, our future has been made certain. Salvation is no longer unpredictable. Through His death and resurrection we are…or should be…convinced. We can stop watching and doubting. There is no longer need to discuss or debate. All of our hopes are fulfilled in Christ. Now we can awake each day, certain that the season of peace, justice, and love has begun.
In our Second Reading, St. Paul tells us how to dress for this endless season. Simply put on Christ…your survival depends on it.