Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:14-22)
The Gospel today presents both a dramatic scene and a serious exhortation.
Here is Jesus returning to his home town of Nazareth after being baptized by John The Baptist. Some in his town heard of his dynamic preaching so they come to the synagogue keenly interested in this carpenter’s son.
He is handed the scroll, opens it, reads the passage, and then announces that it is fulfilled in Him, and then sits down in the posture of serious preaching.
The message is few in words but powerful in effect. It marks the very nature of His ministry, His outreach to all including the marginalized and His expectations of you and me.
His itinerant career is a pattern for every Christian life, in a sense. He is the light of the world, and through his disciples – through their words, actions, and example – he brings that light to shine in all the sin-darkened corners of the globe. He wants to bring his truth (that which he taught) and his grace (that which heals both body and soul) to every human heart and to every nation. This is his mission; and its ours as well.
As Christians, as little Christs, little anointed ones, not only are we called to announce the Gospel, care for those imprisoned, blind, oppressed, and sing of the Lord’s mercy, but we are called to incarnate God’s word, to become living, breathing exegetes and walking commentaries
Each of us is called not to be an idle listener, but to be a doer of the Word.
Jesus Christ came to found a family, as he said, whose mother, brothers, and sisters are those who “hear the word of God and observe it.” Hebrew, as you know, uses the same word for “hear” and for “obey.” We are always called to hear the word of God as a word to be done, as a word to be fulfilled in us who hear it.
But are enough of us doing that? It’s not about wearing our kneeling pads. Nothing wrong about that but if that’s all that there is, we have missed the message.
It’s hearing, obeying and carrying out the very word of God. It’s using the word of God to measure our daily actions – to evaluate whether we have indeed reached out, lived out and opened ourselves to the Holy Spirit.
Our mission in life, in the Church, and in the world is one that we must carry out depending on God’s supernatural grace and following his supernatural lead. Much of the frustrations, conflicts, and discouragements that Christians experience come from forgetting this fact. We decide what we can do. We choose the agenda. Some even twist the words of Sacred Scripture to fit their own agendas. Too often, we don’t stop, reflect and let the Holy Spirit speak to us, open us, direct us.
Remember Mary’s words? “Let Thy will be done.” Are we willing to allow His words of Truth to penetrate our hearts and transform our life? Are we willing to let His will be done in our life . . . by living out His will?
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams. Through the gift of your Holy Spirit, you bring us truth, freedom, and abundant life. Fill me with the joy of the Gospel and inflame my heart with love and zeal for you and for your kingdom of peace and righteousness.”
Jesus came to bring “good news” to those who suffer, to free captives, and to cure the blind – he came because we needed him to come. We suffer the moral agony of incurable selfishness; we are shackled by our strong tendencies to sin; we are blinded by the sparkling allure of temptation, we put our ego above all. We too often forget that He came to be our Savior. And when we truly contemplate him, he attracts us with a force that leaves all other material realities far behind. If we want to experience life as God means it to be lived, all we need to do is call upon the name of Jesus and follow where he leads; he is all for us, the perfect friend, the one we can trust without limits.