As I was telling you in my last blog, we had a unique weekend yesterday when we celebrated the Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple because its gospel reading complements our gospel this Sunday. Recall how yesterday we have heard Simeon telling Mary the Mother of Jesus, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted – and you yourself a sword will pierce you – so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk.2:34-35). Today in our gospel we have seen the fulfillment of Simeon’s prophecy of Jesus being a sign of contradiction when people at their synagogue were amazed at His “gracious words” in proclaiming the word of God on a Sabbath. Then suddenly, the same people became skeptical of Him, wondering where or how He got such wisdom, asking “is he not the son of Joseph the carpenter?” This deteriorated more when the people became furious of Jesus, trying to hurl Him down headlong a ravine after He had explained to them the meaning of the word of God that revealed their hypocrisies.
So many times we go through the same experiences like Jesus in His own hometown when family and relatives and friends would speak highly of us but later put us down with their gossips and nasty words. Like Jesus when we try to be true and just with everyone, there are those would feel insecure that they would backstab us and even worse, betray us like Judas to Jesus. These are all a part of our being a prophet like Jesus Christ. A prophet is more than being a spokesman of God but someone who makes the word of God happen and fulfilled in every here and now like Jesus declaring in the synagogue on that Sabbath day, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk.4:21). Sometimes, the more we try to truly love, the more we try to truly care and be kind with others, the more we are maligned and disliked by others. Indeed, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
And that is why I remembered this beautiful song originally sang and recorded in 1970 by the Chicago soul family group called the Five Stairsteps. This song was originally meant to be the B-side of the Five Stairsteps’ version of another song but due to its meaningful and soothing message of hope and love, it became an instant hit at that time. There have been so many versions of this song that has become timeless as it assures everyone in every generation of how things would get better despite the many obstacles and setback in life. It is the very same assurance of God to us all who try to follow His Son Jesus Christ in being a sign of contradiction in this world where the norm nowadays is selfishness and self-centeredness masquerading as love and service. A blessed Sunday to you!