On Tuesday we will remember the last recorded event of Jesus’ infancy, when he was presented to God in the Temple and recognised by representatives of traditional Israel. Simeon proclaimed that he would be a light to the Gentiles, his meditation on how the Messiah of the Old Testament will show that God loves all people; for the time prophesied by Isaiah (25:6) has come:
The Lord of hosts shall make unto all people in this mountain, a feast of fat things, a feast of wine.
In the Nazareth synagogue, Jesus recognises that no prophet is accepted in his own country (Luke 4:24) but he proclaims the message that the Good News is for all the poor and sick, including foreigners like the widow of Sarepta and Naaman the leper, gentiles both.
And all they in the synagogue, hearing these things, were filled with anger. And they rose up and thrust him out of the city; and they brought him to the brow of the hill, whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them, went his way. (Luke 4:28-30)
There is an ever-present danger of contriving a God small enough to fit inside a Temple, a Church, a nation; the pages of a Book, a particular translation; yet the Spirit blows where it wills. It cannot be kept in, and barricading the door may not stop it getting through a window. Like John XXIII, we should open one or two.