Later today I will begin my retreat. On Thursday evening, I will return to Lanham. I do not know whether there will be any Internet access available to retreatants. If such is the case, there will be no postings until Friday, February 8th. As suggested in the past, there is always Creighton University Daily Reflections that may serve your needs. The reflections offered by the University Jesuits as well as the Lay Colleagues who collaborated with the Daily Reflections always have a thought or two worthy of consideration. Likewise, I do not hesitate to look at the student reflections. There is, more often than not, a good youthful insight into the readings or the feast day. The link is Creighton Daily Reflections.
On the last two Sundays I suggested the advantages for all of us to begin serious remote preparations for the Lenten Season. Only ten days from now we will be at the doorway to Lent 2013. As mentioned earlier, the Sunday gospels since Epiphany have presented a picture of Jesus at work in his ministry. We have had the opportunity to deepen our understanding of him in his work for the Father. These readings and next Sunday, the last non-Lenten readings show us the Jesus we should have as our friend. If we take the time to strengthen our friendship with Jesus, it may happen that when you walk with him in his passion and death, the natural reaction might be a strong desire to walk with him, to understand why he is enduring such suffering -- because he is my friend as well as my Savior.
Today's gospel is situated as it was last Sunday: Jesus reading from the Torah in the temple and preaching. Today's "message" from this young preacher is one that greatly offends the worshippers. These are, most likely, the people he knew as he was growing up in Nazareth. These are the people who have heard about his miracle workings in other places. But Jesus knows the people and obviously he is aware of their prejudices against "outsiders." Notice what he does. He uses a woman and a man were where foreigners. He is reminding them that these people are to be accepted. They are children of God as well. Maybe this story offers serious thought for the American people who are having a difficult time with the immigration issues that is coming to life at this time in our nation. Jesus was not afraid to stand up tall in front of the temple congregation with a message that he knew would offend them. If you have to stand tall before family and or friends about an issue like this, also pray that there is not a cliff nearby!