Gospel: Luke 4:16-30
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?” So he said, “Doubtless you will quote me the saying: Doctor, heal yourself! Do here, in your town, what they say you did in Capernaum.”
Jesus added, “No prophet is honored in his own country. Truly, I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens withheld rain for three years and six months and a great famine came over the whole land. Yet, Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow of Zarephath, in the country of Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha, the prophet; and no one was healed except Naaman, the Syrian.”
On hearing these words, the whole assembly became indignant. They rose up and brought him out of the town, to the edge of the hill on which Nazareth is built, intending to throw him down the cliff. But he passed through their midst and went his way.
“He has anointed me . . .”
The gospel narrative today contains the programmatic state- ment of Jesus’ mission: to bring good news to the poor; to pro- claim liberty to the captives; new sight to the blind; to free the op- press; and, to announce the Lord’s year of mercy. It defines what Jesus is all up to, that is, to defeat the power of sin and to liberate humanity and the natural world from its bondage. Jesus’ mission is striking sin and its attendant social, religious, economic, and political structures, to the core; and, it does it head on. The conse- quence is the cross.
The Church, whose mandate is to carry on Jesus’ saving mission, and Christians from all walks of life, who take the gospel message to heart, are at the forefront of the fight against social injustices, the destruction and plundering of the natural world. The strug- gle remains, and the end seems remote. But we are not wanting of women and men who commit- ted their lives for the promotion, preservation and protection of human life and other forms of life. Furthermore, the Spirit continues to touch the human heart so that God’s creation might continue to flourish and find fulfilment.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019