4 Epiphany – Year C


Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Luke 4:21-30


“Your paradigm is so intrinsic to your mental process that you are hardly aware of its existence, until you try to communicate with someone with a different paradigm.” – Donella Meadows


                A paradigm is a cerebral (or spiritual?) mindset that causes a typical conditioned response.  We all operate out of presuppositions based on our paradigm.  An example would be that success means making lots of money.  Another would be that being happy in using our gifts, no matter what money we make, is the most important.  Our paradigm, our mindset, will influence what we do and how we think.  There are none of us without paradigms.  A paradigm shift is a sudden change in point of view, a change from one way of thinking to another.  An example many of us have come across in our personal lives is what happens when we experience a tragic lose.  We then ask: Who am I now?  Examples in science are Copernican cosmology, Einsteinian relativity, or quantum mechanics.  Take the example of the shift of thinking that the sun rotates around the earth to thinking that the earth rotates around the sun.  This has implications for theology.  With the new idea humankind is no longer the center of all that is.  In today’s Gospel story Jesus is suggesting that we are not the center of all God’s favor.  He tells the people in Nazareth some of their own traditional  stories about God showing favor to a Sidonian and a Syrian when there were plenty of Jews needing the same help (Luke 4:25-27).  This rubbed wrong his listeners’ paradigm and they ran him out of town.  They were not ready for a paradigm shift.  Jesus was saying that God does not just favor Jews but all people.  You folks are not the center of God’s universe.  The sun does not revolve around you.  Can we hear the same message?  God does not only favor Christians.  God does not favor only those of our brand of Christianity.  God does not favor only Democrats or Republicans, gays or straights, poor or rich, unemployed or bankers.  Name your paradigm.  There is not one of us who could not use a paradigm shift in some aspect of our lives.




                In Luke 4:24 Jesus says “no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.” The word for “prophet” in Greek is a compound word with two parts meaning “to speak for,” in this case to speak for God.  In this Gospel Jesus is suggesting that God has a paradigm, a divine mindset.  Perhaps we cannot “speak for” God till we make a shift in how we think.




God’s sun grace does shine

on equally all that is,

you me together.