Where there is enough space
Why, during that terrible famine, Elijah was sent to the widow in Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a stranger, and not to one of his people? Why Elisha the prophet healed only Naaman the Syrian and not all the other lepers in Israel? Why? Is God trying to create disappointment, murmuring? Does it want to make his people pay dearly? No, none of those things. The answer has to be found in what happened to Jesus in his native land, in Nazareth’s synagogue. When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. Why did they want to hurl him down? For the same reason, if you fill a cup of tea above the brim, it will overflow. Nazareth aimed to throw Jesus down the brow of the hill, as water overflows from an overfilled jug, it is a matter of space. Nazareth did not have enough space for Jesus, it did not have enough space for his wisdom and his love, for his proposal of light and salvation. Nazareth’s people wanted to drive Jesus out of the town, and even worse, they wanted to hurl him down the hill, because the town was already overfilled with something else, and there was no space left for Jesus. Their town was built on the brow of the hill, on the precipice, and there was not enough space left for Jesus. The word brow/precipice is the translation of the greek word ofrýs which means “ridge, brow”, but also metaphorically, “haughtiness, pride”. Symbolically Nazareth is a town built on pride, haughtiness, arrogance, tyranny, and Jesus did not fit in it at all. This is the reason why Elijah was sent to the Zarephath’s widow, because there is where there was space for wisdom, love, faith, conversion, where there was space for welcoming, sharing, humility and peace. This is the reason why Elisha the prophet only healed the foreigner leper, and not the ones of his people, because only there, only within the heart of Naaman the Syrian, there was spiritual space for healing, for realigning the inner axis, for encountering God, for inner change. God and life go where there is space, and the lack of space can be easily detected: God and life are driven away from there. Nazareth is the Symbol of all our cities built on the abyss, all built on the brow of the hill, without any space for Jesus, because the abyss on which they are built, and which will drive them down the void, is the lack of space for him. Not having enough space for Jesus and his Gospel’s procedures, this is the humanity’s abyss.