Jesus acted with the power of the Spirit; and on his return to Galilee, the news about him spread throughout all that territory. He began teaching in the synagogues of the Jews and everyone praised him.
When Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, as he usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed him the book of the prophet Isaiah.
Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me, to bring good news to the poor; to proclaim liberty to captives; and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed; and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy.”
Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he said to them, “Today, these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.”
All agreed with him, and were lost in wonder, while he spoke of the grace of God. Nevertheless they asked, “Who is this but Joseph’s Son?”
There is a charming Irish ditty which goes like this:
To live above
With the saints we love,
Ah! that is purest glory!
But to live below
With the saints we know,
Ah! that is another story.
At first blush, this little poem seems to be simply describing reality: it is easy to love saints but difficult to love those we rub shoulders with and whose weaknesses are so glaring. In reference to such a state of affairs, John’s implied statement that it is easier to love humans (we see) than God (we don’t see) is startling and almost non-sensical.
Yet, when we think in greater depth on all this, we realize that the problem with our difficulty in loving our companions is that we do not really see them in their full dimension as God’s loved children. We see their outward mannerisms, ugliness, bad temper, narrow-mindedness, etc., but that is just their exterior shell. If we accept to go beyond that and love them as God’s children, then we really see them. And that happens when we ask God to pour his love into our hearts. When that happens, we see everyone with God’s loving eyes.
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