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22nd Week in Ordinary Time
Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing. (Luke 4:21)
Do you ever wish that life was like a vending machine? It would be so easy if we could just put in the correct amount of work and prayers, push the right button, and watch everything come out exactly as we have planned.
But sometimes even vending machines get jammed, and we end up with something we don’t want. Or nothing at all.
Then what? Some people get so angry that they shake or kick the misbehaving machine. Unfortunately, this rarely works, and they are left even more frustrated. They still end up with whatever they got.
Perhaps this is how the people in the synagogue at Nazareth felt when Jesus announced to them that he was the long-awaited Messiah.
Many of the Jews in Jesus’ time were very careful about pushing the right buttons in the hopes that God would fulfill their dreams. They prayed unceasingly for a powerful Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and bring about an era of peace and prosperity for the nation of Israel. So you can imagine their initial excitement when Jesus announced that he was the Messiah. And you can also imagine how angry they became when they discovered that this “Messiah” was just a carpenter’s son who preached a message of mercy, love, and compassion. They were so upset that they tried to kill him!
The Nazarenes couldn’t see that in Jesus they got more than what they had ordered, not less. Jesus wasn’t going to continue the cycle of vengeance and violence that was part of every kingdom, including theirs. He had come to put an end to that cycle and to save everyone by showing them the love of a servant, not an overlord.
Today, take time to consider how you react when life doesn’t hand you what you have ordered. Do you kick the “vending machine” only to end up hurting yourself? Remember that God doesn’t always appear or heal us or save us in the way that we expect. But his plans are always best. No matter what the end results are, he will make them perfect if we trust him. And best of all, we always end up with more than what we have asked for!
“Lord, you are the fulfillment of all my needs and desires. May I never reject your good gifts!”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Psalm 96:1, 3-5, 11-13
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