The attempt to throw Christ off a cliff,
Engraving by Alexandre Bida (1813-1885),
Issued in 1853,
Steel engraving
© Alamy


The attempt to throw Christ off a cliff,
Engraving by Alexandre Bida (1813-1885),
Issued in 1853,
Steel engraving
© Alamy


Gospel of 4 March 2024

No prophet is ever accepted in his own country

Luke 4:24-30

Jesus came to Nazara and spoke to the people in the synagogue: ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.

‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’

When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.

Reflection on the engraving

At the end of this morning’s gospel reading, Jesus meets with a very violent reaction from the inhabitants of Nazareth, his home town. The people hustled Jesus out of the town, intending to throw him down the hill on which their town was built. Their reaction to Jesus was one of great anger. They simply did not want to believe anything he said to them. The inhabitants of Nazareth were angry with Jesus because he identified himself with two prophets, Elijah and Elisha, who ministered to people beyond Israel, people whom the inhabitants of Nazareth would have considered unworthy of such attention. The people of Nazareth had a much narrower view of God than Jesus had. Jesus reveals a God who relates to us not on the basis of whether we are worthy or deserving but simply out of a compassionate love, a boundless love.

In our engraving by Alexandre Bida, issued in 1853, we see Jesus depicted three times: once coming out of the city gate, then once at the foot of the hill, being rushed at by the angry crowd, and finally standing at the top of the cliff. In the bottom right he is depicted a fourth time, leaving Mary and his house behind to start his mission: a flashback, so to speak.

Jesus was simply showing the people of Nazareth that the God of Israel was the God of all humanity and that God often sent his prophets to care for people beyond Israel, indeed, to care for those who would have been considered enemies of Israel.

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1 month ago

VATICAN NEWS 5 March 2024


After the Marian prayer of the Angelus, the Pontiff recalls the suffering of the people of Palestine and Israel, which he carries in his heart every day. He prays for the ongoing negotiations so that the hostages can be released and the displaced people receive the necessary humanitarian aid.

Sebastian Samson Ferrari – Vatican City

“Do they really think they can build a better world this way? Do they really think they will achieve peace? Enough, please! Let us all say: ‘Enough, please!’ Stop it!”. Pope Francis pronounced these vehement words after the Marian prayer of the Angelus this Sunday, 3 March, and confided that he carries daily in his heart, with pain, the suffering of the populations of Israel and Palestine “because of the ongoing hostilities”.

“The thousands of dead, wounded, displaced, the immense destruction cause pain, with tremendous consequences for the small and the defenceless, who see their future compromised,” Francis stressed. The Pontiff encouraged “the continuation of negotiations for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and in the whole region, so that the hostages can be released immediately and return to their loved ones who are anxiously waiting, and the civilian population can have safe access to the humanitarian aid they urgently need”. He also asked not to forget “the tormented Ukraine, where so many are dying every day”. “There is so much pain there,” he said before a St Peter’s Square where several flags of the Eastern European country were flying.

Pope Francis’ appeal on the Third Sunday of Lent is just the latest of many he has addressed since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on 7 October 2023. There are still 130 Israeli hostages held by Hamas, and more than 30 of them are feared dead.

The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip has exceeded 30,000, with thousands more missing. At the same time, more than 1.3 million people have been displaced and face a catastrophic humanitarian situation and the threat of famine as little aid reaches them. Two thirds of them are women and children.

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8 March 2021

Luke 4:24-30

The people of Nazareth intended to throw Jesus ...

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