Jan 27 2019 Reflection
Sunday 27 January 2019
First Reading: NEH 8:2-4A, 5-6, 8-10
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
PS 19:8, 9, 10, 15
Second Reading: 1 COR 12:12-30
Gospel Reading: LK 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Today’s Note: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events
that have been fulfilled among us,
just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning
and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
I too have decided,
after investigating everything accurately anew,
to write it down in an orderly sequence for you,
most excellent Theophilus,
so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings
you have received.
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.”
He has anointed me. (Luke 4:18)
Often, when we read Scripture we see an immediate meaning and a long-term meaning. Take today’s Gospel, where Jesus proclaims that the Spirit of the Lord has anointed him to bring good news. In the immediate sense, we know that Jesus really was anointed by the Holy Spirit when he was baptized by John in the Jordan River. But in the long-term sense, Jesus wants us to know that the same Spirit has anointed us as well.
When Jesus gave us the Great Commandment—to love God and to love one another—he was telling us to follow his example. He was telling us to go and set people free. He was urging us to hear and respond to the cry of the poor. He was asking us to be as concerned with people who are in need as we are with our relationship with him.
Ever since that time, Christians have held a special place in their hearts for the poor, the marginalized, the sick, prisoners, and the unborn. Shelters for the homeless, soup kitchens, prison ministries, and the protection for those who cannot protect themselves are woven into the heart of the Church’s mission.
There are so many Christian organizations working to erase poverty, to improve education, to raise living standards, and to bring medical help to those who need it. But the cry of the poor still calls out to us. There are still homeless people living in tents and under bridges. There are still entire populations suffering from famine. There are still countless people dying from treatable diseases. And Jesus is still urging us to do whatever we can to help them.
The challenge can seem overwhelming. Nonetheless, if each one of us could add an hour or two every month to answer the Lord’s call, that would mean an increase of thousands of hours. Imagine the joy it would give Jesus to see all his people taking their spiritual anointing seriously and laboring to set people free!
“Here I am, Lord. You have anointed me, and I want to serve.”