Today’s Gospel reading begins with the opening of Luke’s Gospel, then leaps forward four chapters to the account of Jesus’ revealing himself as the Christ foretold by the prophets. The joining of these passages is significant for two reasons.
First, Luke addresses his Gospel account to a man named Theophilus – i.e., “friend of God,” and this means you!
You are a living witness to the testimony of faith.
Second, Luke tells you (Theophilus) that he personally prepared this account “So that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received,” – that is, the teaching contained in today’s Gospel, fulfilled in your hearing.
Today, Jesus does the ordinary thing. He enters the Synagogue on the Sabbath, reads from the scroll, and sits back down like any man would – back in that day. He then, unexpectedly, draws attention to himself by saying, “Today, this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
When we read this passage during the Mass today, the “Today” Christ speaks of is Now. The truth regarding the Son of God is revealed in your presence through the reading of God’s word in the Scriptures. This is an invitation to exercise your faith in the Son of God, “Today”.
“He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up.” Earlier in Luke’s Gospel, the boy Jesus returns obediently to the town of Nazareth with his family, after the 3-day episode in the Temple. In that account Luke also tells us that after returning home “[The boy] Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.”
In other words, like any boy, he grew up in his hometown and matured into a well-balanced adult. With good reason, it seems, his hometown recognized him as an ordinary man; it takes faith to believe he is also God.
“So that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received”
Saint Thomas Aquinas once wrote that “[Ordinarily,] arguments from authority are the weakest form of argument; yet, ‘in theology,’ — hence also in religion — arguments from Authority (with capital A) are the STRONGEST form of argument, because of the Authority of the one who reveals.”
We believe, because it is God who reveals. Yet our Lord chose to place the truth contained in this revelation in the hands of men and women who continue to hand it on to us throughout the centuries, and still today. To exercise your faith in Christ today means placing full trust in that Authority (in Sacred Scripture, Magisterium, and Tradition of the Church).