In you, O Lord, have a I taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame. Psalm 71:1
The Gospel for Sunday is Luke 4:21-30. Jesus is still in his hometown, but he’s turned the locals against him with some unexpected words. God’s grace and love are for the stranger and the foreigner, the enemy and the outcast. When Jesus says this, the people of the village make the judgment that he is not one of them, so they take him out to the place of execution outside of town and try to kill him. Another episode of this village scene will happen outside the holy city of Jerusalem. There the people, with some help from the authorities, succeed in killing Jesus. In both scenes the people murmur and shout that he’s not one of us. He doesn’t play by our tribal rules. He doesn’t run with the pack; he seems to be under some other authority; his ideas and his actions upset us.
The promises of God-as delivered by Jesus- are for the outcast, the foreigner, the lonely, the excluded, the prisoner, the broken-hearted etc.: not for them as well as for the powerful,the secure and the enfranchised, but for them, period. I believe that this is one of the main messages of Jesus. It’s hard to wrap our minds around it, let alone try to run a human organization (the church) with that as the principle of operation. But there it is, I believe.