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Monday, February 4, 2013


Vatican City, 3 February 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father's Sunday meditation before praying the Angelus today, was dedicated to the Gospel of St. Luke, which narrates Jesus' return to the synagogue in Nazareth after a period of absence. Jesus reads a prophecy from Isaiah regarding the Messiah and makes it known that it is referring to Him, which provokes confusion among his countrymen who, on the one hand admire Him but on the other hand ask: "Isn’t this the son of Joseph?" or rather, "what aspirations could a carpenter from Nazareth have?"

"Recognizing this rejection, which confirms the proverb 'no prophet is accepted in his own land', Jesus addresses the people in the synagogue with words that sound like a provocation. He cites two miracles performed in favour of the non-Isrealites by the great prophets Elijah and Elisha in order to demonstrate that, at times, there is more faith outside of Israel. At that point, the reaction is unanimous, everyone gets up and they throw Him out, even trying to throw Him off a precipice. With tremendous calm, however, He walks through the midst of the enraged crowd and takes his leave. At this point it is natural to ask: Why did Jesus want to provoke this rupture? At the beginning, the people admired Him and perhaps He could have gotten certain agreement … but this is precisely the point. Jesus did not come to seek the agreement of humanity―as He will tell Pilate in the end―but to 'to testify to the truth'. The true prophet does not obey anyone but God, and places himself at the service of truth, ready to pay in person. It is true that Jesus is the prophet of love, but love has its own truth. Better yet, love and truth are two names for the same reality, the two names of God. These words of St. Paul echo in today's liturgy: 'love... is not pompous, ... it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,e 6it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.' Believing in God means renouncing our own prejudices and welcoming the concrete face in which He reveals himself: the man Jesus of Nazareth. This path also leads to recognizing and serving him in others."

"Mary's attitude in all this is enlightening. Who more than she was familiar with Jesus' humanity? But she was never scandalized like her fellow Nazarenes. She safeguarded the mystery in her heart and always know how to welcome him again and anew in her faith journey, up to the night of the Cross and the full light of the Resurrection."

After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father noted that this first Sunday in February marks the Day for Life in Italy. "I join with all the Italian bishops," he said, "whose messages invite us to invest in life and in the family as an effective answer to the current crisis. I greet the Movement for Life and wish them success in their initiative called 'One of Us', to make Europe more and more a place in which the dignity of each human being is protected. I also greet the representatives of the Faculty of Medicine from the University of Rome, particularly the professors of obstetrics and gynaecology, … and encourage them to train health care workers in the culture of life."

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