Introduction: The whole purpose of journeying with the word of God spoken by Jesus is to be enlightened by it, to be guided by it, to be transformed by it and therefore to be conformed to it, because the words Jesus have spoken to us are spirit and they are life (Jn 6:63) and have the message of eternal life.
1. Read: read the text of Luke 4:31-41 slowly and listen attentively with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
2. Reflect: read the text again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
3. Respond: read the text again but this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this text lead you to ask for from the Lord?
4. Stay with the Word: read the text a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Do not say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?
5. Take now the word, sentence, or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word leads you to action.
Conclude your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
Reflection: The text of Luke 4:31-41, tells us about how people were astonished and impressed by Jesus’ teaching. They made remarks of how he soke and ordered unclean spirits and cured diseases with authority. His authority has been compared obviously with the Jews authority which simply was to repeat verses from the Tora or quoting their masters. But Jesus here speaks the Word of God, interprets it, and brings to life those who hear it. Let us be attentive not to resist to it but to welcome it and be transformed by it.
Central Message: “His teaching made a deep impression on them because he spoke with authority”. “He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.” “He rebuked the fever and it left her”.
- “His teaching made a deep impression on them because he spoke with authority”. Why Jesus made such impression on the people? Because he spoke the Word of God and not any human word. He gets that reaction anywhere he goes because he teaches the Word of God in ways that have not been taught or spoken by the average Jewish teacher of his time who used to quote verses of the Tora or their teachers. He not only read the Word of God but explained it and applied it to real life. His Word is authority itself because it comes from the mouth of God not to repress or suppress the hearers but to liberate and transform them according to his Word (Will). In Isiah 55:11we read “the word that goes from my mouth does not retuned to me empty, without carrying out my will”. It is the same Word that is read and taught every Sunday from pulpits, I wonder why it does not have the same impression and astonishment like in times of Jesus. Perhaps it is the way the Word is taught or maybe it is human language that distorts it. Or maybe the Word does not find a fertile soil ready to receive it. In any case we are invited to welcome the Word of God and allow it to make its effect on us because God expects it to carry out his will on us. Let it be so.
- “He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.” Jesus goes down from Nazareth to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, there he taught in the synagogue on a sabbath day. There was a man possessed by the devil; the question here is why he was there if had an unclean spirit, he should have been prohibited to appear in public or come into contact with people for fear of contaminating them. According to the Jewish law and customs he was unclean and therefore he had to be isolated. Perhaps he entered the Synagogue in disguised that no one could identify him with the only purpose of disrupting and creating chaos there. That is the only purpose we can think off he went there for. He did not go to the synagogue to hear the Word of God or to be cast out from. So, there he was in the middle of the synagogue interrupting Jesus’ teaching, shouting at the top of its voice: “what do you want from us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God”. Of course, no one could dare to stop him and take him out for fear of contamination. Instead, Jesus in complete control sharply ordered him “be quite! Come out of him!” And the devil went out of him at once doing him not harm. They were all astonished and said, “he gives orders to unclean spirits with authority.” While some accepted his authority, some others rejected it. Satan aim has been always to divide and to create confusion avoiding the Word of God and the truth being preached. When you see that happened be certain that the evil spiritual forces are at work behind the scenes. But Jesus will always protect us with his authority and power from any evil forces, he is in control, and therefore he must be at the centre of our lives.
- “He rebuked the fever and it left her”. Jesus leaved the synagogue and went to Simon’s house. We can imagine the tiredness of Jesus at his arrival in Simon’s house, he walked from Nazareth to Capernaum, taught in the synagogue, fought with the evil spirit and now he founds Simon’s mother-in-low with high fever. A lot of energy has gone out of him for sure. So, Simon and probably his wife asked Jesus to do something for her. Their plead was not in a manner of ordering or manipulating him but in a humble petition, “if he could do something for her”. He then rebukes the fever and it left her. Jesus shows too that he has authority over sickness and disease. After that she got up and start serving them. This is the effect of someone who is healed by Jesus, is compelled to worship and bear witness of Jesus through service. She becomes alive and active aware of the needs of others. The next few verses tell us that Jesus’ authority over sickness continues until night. Once the Sabbath ended the restrictions of the Sabbath ended too. Then they could bring him the sick people to be healed from all kinds of diseases. He cured them all. “Devils too came out of many people, howling, ‘you are the Son of God’ “. And again, Jesus rebuked them with authority, “and he would not allow them to speak” because Jesus did not want them to testify that he was ‘the Son of God,’ instead he wanted the people to acknowledge him as the Messiah, their Saviour.
Some questions for our reflexion:
- When you pray, how do pray and how do you approach God?
- When you ask God for something, do you order or manipulate him to get what you want?
- What would you do or say to God when you request something from him and he does not give you?