When we read the Gospel stories about Jesus, we can sometimes get the impression that He was greatly admired, respected and honoured by the people he met. Nothing could be further from the truth, as today’s story from St Luke’s Gospel reveals. His own friends, the people who he grew up with in Nazareth, tried to kill him because his message to them was much too challenging.
He revealed to his own Jewish friends, citing messages from their own Jewish bible (the Old Testament), that God’s love for them was not exclusive. It is God’s intention, he said, to embrace all people – not just the ones who thought they were “the chosen people”.
Some religious people, including some of our Catholic sisters and brothers, seem keen to restrict God’s Divine Love to themselves. God’s love is never exclusive. Every human being has been drawn into God’s love, and that is what Jesus revealed.
What a blasphemy, His friends thought. How could He possibly suggest that God loves everyone? Nevertheless, Jesus refused to back away from his message about an all-inclusive God.
Of course, it is sometimes difficult for us to embrace this message of Jesus. It is difficult sometimes because human beings are not “good” in the same way; nor can everyone love and be loved in the same way. We sometimes find this difficult to accept.
The only message that St Luke is inviting us to embrace today, unlike the people who refused this invitation is to do the best we can to recognise other kinds of “goodness”. We are invited to embrace “goodness” where-ever and whenever we encounter it.