I imagine the scene in the synagogue as Jesus finishes speaking. Absolute silence – if you listen hard enough you can hear the crickets in the background; so profound was the silence in that room as “all looked at him intently.”
Today marks a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. Up until now he was just an ordinary itinerant preacher, one among many, traveling around the country side. Now he begins his journey to Jerusalem which ends on a hillside in Calvary. We know that this is not the end, but the beginning and with this bold proclamation Jesus sets us on our path of discipleship. His mission becomes our mission to the world as followers of His Way.
Jesus arrives in Nazareth, his home town where everyone knows him. He is just the carpenter’s son, the son of Mary. “We know his brothers and sisters,” the people say, “they still live here among us.”
Now Jesus, as the good Jewish son that he is, reverent, dedicated to God and the practice of his faith, goes into the synagogue, as expected. An ordinary act, as ordinary as each one of us on Sunday attending Mass, as is our custom.
And as is the custom, Jesus, who has been away from home, is invited to read. He selects from among the scrolls of scripture, Isaiah, the great prophet. He reads from the Immanuel prophesies, the announcement of the coming of the Messiah.
- I am filled with the Spirit of God. It is I whom He sends to you
- I bring hope to the poor and outcast
- I announce freedom to those held captive by oppression and despair
- I give sight to those who cannot see and heal those sick at heart
- I release from sin those held in its terrible grip
- I bring to you God’s favor and blessings; proclaiming that all should live in right relationship with God and one another.
- All that was promised to you is now come to be. In me is your hope and life.
This is our belief in Jesus – he is our hope and our life. His mission is our mission. He calls his disciples to continue the work he began on earth:
- Giving hope to the poor and marginalized
- Helping one another to see the truth of God’s promise of salvation and Eternal Life
- Bringing the Light into the lives of the forlorned and despaired
- Encouraging all to seek God’s mercy and forgiveness; to leave sin behind and seek the better things of God’s Kingdom on earth
- Making saints of one another by living in right relationship – filled with God’s love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness.
- Loving God and giving Him praise for all that he does for us: for His gifts of grace, His bounty of this earth and sharing its life-sustaining resources.
God uses the ordinary to confound those who would make gods of themselves. It is through the weak and ordinary that God accomplishes his mighty works. God gives each of us, through our baptism, gifts and talents to do his will, the work begun in Christ Jesus.
- We are the proclaimer’s of God’s truth.
- We bring His Good News to the poor,
- We carry his message of freedom to the oppressed,
- We heal the sick and give sight to the blind
- We free captives to sin through our works in the Lord
- We are the peacemakers; living God’s love of forgiveness, compassion and mercy.
- By our Life in Christ, - we proclaim God’s favor on his people.
- In the Peace of Christ, - we live in right relationship with one another, greeting one another with love, mercy and compassion.
- In the Light of Christ, - we:
- give aid to the fallen,
- give hope to the discouraged,
- give voice to the oppressed and forgotten
- In the Love of Christ - we lift each other up bringing His Light into World.
Our discipleship is doing and being Christ’s work, fulfilling his mission. He sends his Spirit to fill us, so:
- we who are ordinary
- can do the extra-ordinary.
Filled with God’s Spirit we proclaim the Good News that all people are Beloved Children of God - heirs of his Kingdom of Heaven and Life Everlasting.
Deacon Don Ron