Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

THE MERCY OF ACCEPTANCE

By Tina Sibbald

Rejection, according to Psychology today, manifests itself in one’s mind, body and spirit in profound and crushing ways. Chances are the pain is physical if you stop and think about the last time you faced rejection. In our hunter/gatherer past, being ostracized from a tribe was a death sentence, as man could not survive alone. This is supported in 1 Corinthians, which talks about how even through our diversity, we are all baptized into one body. We are accepted.

If Toronto is your second home, chances are that you have recently spent time at “home” over Christmas, with family and close friends. Your homecoming was celebrated, and everyone wanted to hear about what you’ve been working on and all your accomplishments. They were proud of you and you shared good food, fellowship and fun together. Isn’t it wonderful to be accepted and loved by the people who mean the most to you?

Jesus went home to be among is people, and it didn’t go so well for him. He read from the prophet Isaiah, and shared with them the exciting news that He was the fulfillment of the prophecy. “Today the scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing”. The resulting ridicule and rejection would be enough to completely destroy every one of us. Yet He carried on.

Jesus’ perseverance in sharing the truth about who He was would eventually lead to the ultimate rejection. He knew he would pay with His life, yet fulfilled the destiny that was His. The world needs this truth, and because we have it, it is incumbent on us to share the mercy and acceptance that we have received: not only with our words, but also by our actions. Sharing the message of salvation, I’m discovering, does not require a theology degree, or even the greatest knowledge and understanding of the liturgy. It does require an open heart and a willingness to be used in unexpected and sometimes uncomfortable ways. We are accepted. More accurately, we are accepted because He was rejected. “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Sunday’s Readings: Nehemiah 8.2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Corinthians 12.12-30; Luke 1.1-4; 4.14-21

About the Image:  Christ Preaching in the Synagogue, Visoki Decani Monastery, Serbia 14th Century