Neh 8:2-4,5-6,8-10; 1Cor 12:12-30 (12:12-14,27); Luke 1:1-4:4-21
The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from 365 Days With The Lord
1Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, 3I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.
14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. 15He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.
16He 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 17and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: 18“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,/ 19and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” 20Rolling 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. 21He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
2010: The Year of the Lord’s Favor Is… Today
Jesus was a familiar face in Nazareth where he grew up. He attended the Sabbath services with Mary and Joseph, with his cousins and relatives. The community knew them well. When Joseph died, Jesus carried on his trade as carpenter.
Then, one day, Jesus left Nazareth. It was not altogether unexpected; many young men had forsaken this dull town, from which nothing good seemed to come out, in search of greener pastures. But the news that soon reached Nazareth was beyond expectations. It said that Jesus had achieved renown as a rabbi in the region of Galilee. Some people said he was a prophet; others marveled at his healing power. Whoever thought that a carpenter would turn out to be a religious figure?
Now the famous son returns. Naturally all Nazareth gathers in the synagogue to hear him speak. The hazzan—the synagogue caretaker and master of ceremonies—hands Jesus a scroll of Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, Jesus quickly finds a passage from the prophet and proclaims: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me… He has anointed me… to bring glad tidings to the poor… to announce a year of favor from the Lord.”
The people are amazed at the way Jesus proclaims the prophecy. They can feel his authority. They fix their eyes on him as they wait for what more he has to say. The words then come like a trumpet blast: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
After the Christmas season, which reveals to us the mystery of the child Jesus, the liturgy opens the public ministry of Jesus with these ringing words: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” For those of us who heard the infancy stories of Matthew and Luke proclaimed during Advent and Christmas, the person of Jesus seems a mystery no longer: he is the fulfillment of the messianic expectations, the Word made man, the Son of God. Now comes the obvious question: What will this Child be when he grows up?
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled.” The life and ministry of Jesus is the proclamation of the good news that God loves his people and cares for them, especially the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden. Jesus proclaims a “year of favor from the Lord,” God’s holy year when all forms of slavery and oppression cease.
“In your hearing…” The prophecies of Isaiah were fulfilled then and there in the synagogue of Nazareth because Jesus was present. In the same manner, they are realized today when the words of Jesus are proclaimed in our own hearing.
We sometimes wonder why even if we celebrate Christmas yearly, each time we get caught up in its mystery and enchantment. The peace and good will of the season fill us in a special way. If we pause and think about it, the spirit of Christmas is with us the whole year round.
This is because Jesus is “Emmanuel”—God-with-us today. He continues to be reborn in our hearts.
God’s salvation is being fulfilled “in our hearing.” Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is always at work to bring “glad tidings” to those who open their hearts to receive the good news.
2013 He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives. The Lord Jesus presents himself in his inaugural speech, declaring his program as a liberator. And that is how he appears in the gospel of Luke: Jesus liberates people from their sicknesses, from religious ignorance, from fear, from sin, and even from death. He knows that you and I are in need of liberation, and he has come to set us free by the power of the Spirit of God.
Do we allow Jesus to free us from the things that enslave or limit us? If we submit to Christ, we shall experience the freedom of the children of God, as did Mary Magdalene, Paul, Augustine, Francis of Assisi, Charles de Foucauld, and many other saints and blesseds. It is true, though, that like St. Augustine, we put off allowing Christ to free us. We say to Christ, “Yes, Lord… but not yet!”
Once we have experienced the freedom that God gives, we should then, like Jesus, also help set others free. The test of the genuineness of our conversion to Christ and our experience of freedom is our eagerness to help others experience what we have experienced.
“It is unthinkable that a person should believe the word and submit himself to the kingdom without becoming a person who bears witness to it and proclaims it in his turn” (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi).
2019 Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing
January 27, 2019 | Filed under: Opinion,Reflections Today | Posted by: Tempo Desk
IN writing his gospel, the evangelist Luke states his intention to establish a link between the Old Covenant/Testament and the New, with Jesus Christ as the main connection. He writes to a certain Theophilus, who may be construed as the patron who pays for the manuscripts according to the custom of his time (no printing press existed), or to “Theophilus,” who in Greek means “lover of God” and may represent every Christian. The writers of the New Testament recognize the authority of the Jewish Sacred Scriptures, often referring to the “Law of Moses,” to David, to the prophets, and to the Holy Spirit. Luke here quotes the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord” (61:1-2).
Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law, the History, and the Prophets. Jesus restores the order of creation broken by the disobedience of the first man Adam; he fulfills the covenant given to Abraham and Moses; he establishes the eternal Kingdom promised to the house of David; he is the anointed and Spirit-filled prophet in the mold of Isaiah and Elijah and Elisha; he is the Messiah who will liberate the whole humanity from sin, sickness, and death. His entrance signifies the Lord’s year of mercy, recalling the jubilee year wherein debts are forgiven and freedom is given to slaves and captives – a new era of total liberation for all humanity.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: stpauls.ph.
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