Commentary on the Gospel of

Larry Gillick, S.J.-Creighton University's Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality

Last Sunday’s Gospel related the story of Jesus’ returning to His hometown of Nazareth. We heard that He got up in the Synagogue and read a prophetic passage from Isaiah. Then he declared that He was the fulfillment personally of that very reading.

The Gospel we hear today immediately follows this dramatic self-statement. He had been tempted about His identity and makes this announcement as the first public affirmation of Who He was. What we do hear today has two important features. The town’s folk are quite impressed with Jesus’ words. They know His parents and are quite excited that Jesus will make them proud and famous perhaps.

Jesus begins His being public and not localized or confined. He knows their expectations for Him and yet He knows He is meant to be for more than them. He quotes two familiar stories from their scriptures. (1 Kings 17, and 2 Kings 5, 14-9)     These stories provoke His listeners and they change their opinions and feelings concerning Jesus. They do not like the implications of His interpretation of the stories and so when they, like ourselves, do not like the message, they attempt to get rid of the messenger. Jesus does a little Houdiniesque move and leaves to continue His healing, teaching, and provoking.

Those who deal with problems associated with sight and seeing, have two basic catagories. One is blindness which is not being able to see anything. The other is known as “Low-Vision” or “Legally Blind” wherein there is some light or object recognition.

Persons having some limited vision have a little added problem. They can see light and dark, or varying degrees of recognition of objects and other persons. Their problem is that, because they can see a little bit, they easily can assume that they can see more than they really can. The result is that they less fearfully move about and so more easily bump into or trip over or knock over somethings or someones. They can become too confident or trusting in what they can see and less aware of what they cannot.

The folks of Nazareth were blinded by their rigidity and their seeing Jesus as limited to their own expectations. Jesus became a stumbling object, because they thought they could see Who he was, but could not because of their low-vision. They could see a little bit and so they thought they could see more than they could.

Jesus provokes us to admit we have low vision about most things and especially about the God of Revelation. Faith is a way of living with the admission that God offers us little glimpses and the grace to see them and trust in what is behind and beyond them.

When we say that we see, we are also saying that we do not see as much as we wish. In a sense, when we think we know it all, about God or each other or some subject, we really do not see it, but only enough to attract or distract us. In the scroll from which Jesus read last Sunday, He affirms that He has come to assist recovery of sight to the blind. This recovery is about our being blinded by what we see and think we have it. When we have “it” we really do not.  Jesus left their sight, because their low vision lead them to think they knew Him and had It and they didn’t. See what I’m getting at? 


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