The dictionary defines courage as “the attitude or response of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult or painful instead of withdrawing from it .” Courage costs! In today’s gospel passage, Jesus challenges his hearers to broaden their horizons. He tells them that God’s Kingdom is for all and not just the people of Israel. He tells them of God’s special concern for the marginalized. The crowd doesn’t like this one bit. So they first try to belittle him and then kill him. “When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down head-long.” In the first reading from Jeremiah, the prophet tells of his being gifted by God with the courage to do what God asks of him. ” … gird your loins; stand up and tell them all that I command you … for it is I this day who have made you a fortified city, … They will fight against you but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” Today, the followers of Jesus, Christians, need courage to live fully the gospel message. Much of what we believe and are called to do is counter-culture. We are called to challenge the selfishness and greed that is rampant in our world. We are called to uphold and defend the dignity of human life from the womb to the tomb. We are called to live the challenge of the Gospel regardless of personal cost. Like Jeremiah, we need the courage the Spirit of God brings to us in prayer.
©2013 Eugene S. Ostrowski