Advent reflection on Our Lord: Jesus passing through

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me; to bring good news to the poor he has sent me, to proclaim to the captives release, and sight to the blind; to set at liberty the oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompense” (Is. 61:1–2).

Here counter-revelation—revelation of scandal and hate. Outburst of man’s irritation against God and the essence of God: holiness. Scandal is revolt against the living God. At the bottom of the human heart, side by side with longing for the eternal source and fulfillment of all things, lurks resistance to that source: elementary sin in its lair.

But the hour is Satan’s. From those who had just witnessed, amazed and moved, the grace and beauty of Jesus’ words, a paroxysm of rage breaks lose. They thrust him out of the synagogue and through the streets of the city to the precipice of the hill on which it lies, to hurl him from it. Rejection of the kingdom’s eternal, inexpressible abundance has become a living possibility. Already the cross stands waiting.

But what occurs here in Nazareth is an even greater proof of spiritual force. The excited mob, infuriated by neighborly hate and general demonic hysteria, surrounds Jesus, drives him up the hill to the brink of the precipice and tries to force him over it to his death. Suddenly, in the thick of the clamor and chaos, the quiet words: “But he, passing through their midst, went his way.” No return of violence for violence. Soundlessly, effortlessly, divine freedom walks right through the seething mob, its irresistible force bound by nothing on earth but its own “hour.” –Romano Guardini ‘The Lord’



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