The Ministry of Jesus Christ – A Prophet in His Own Country

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And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here also in your own country.'” And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. – Luke 4:23-24 (RSVCE)

Our Lord explains to the people of Nazareth that He is to be rejected in His own country; that He will not perform among them the same signs as elsewhere; and illustrates His intention by the example of Elias and Eliseus, who passed by their own countrymen to carry their message of mercy to strangers.

Our Lord tells the Nazarenes that they will expect Him to perform His miracles among them on the principle: “Physician, heal thyself.” They forgot that the true relationship to Christ is founded on supernatural charity, not in natural kinship. If I want Him to heal me, I must do His will, for thus I am worthy to be classed as His true mother or sister or brother in the spiritual order.

The answer Jesus makes to the thoughts or words of the Nazarenes is the further proverb: “No prophet is accepted in his own country.” Why is this? Sometimes it is that the prophet is found out in his home to be but a somewhat ordinary mortal; sometimes (as in our Lord’s case) that those who are in continual contact with some teacher of extraordinary holiness, if they are not attracted to him, have their hearts hardened. Sometimes Catholics, religious, even priests, are only hardened by their familiarity with holy things. Alas, that it should be so!

Elias in the time of famine was sent to bring plenty to a Gentile; Eliseus healed none of the lepers of Israel, but only a foreign soldier. We must not presume on our being born Catholics, as the Jews did on their belonging to the people of God. God may reject us and bestow His fondest love and best graces on those born and reared outside the Church.

MLA Citation

  • Father Richard Frederick Clarke, SJ. “A Prophet in His Own Country”. The Ministry of Jesus Christ: Short Meditations on the Public Life of Our Lord, 1892. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 April 2019. Web. 26 July 2021. <>