January 7th, 2021

The Gospel according to Luke (4:14-22) 

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.”  And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my heart to your Spirit in this time of prayer. I wish to be with you, to hear what you would like to say. You know better than I how much I need you. Here are my distractions, my worries, and my concerns. I open this space in my heart to you, that you may fill me with yourself. I believe in you; bolster my faith. I put all my hope in your unfailing goodness. And I love you. Enter the synagogue of my heart now, as you entered that synagogue of Nazareth. May I receive the word you want to share with me today.

Encountering Christ: As a child I was the classic “fly under the radar” kind of guy; a solid “C” student, not very athletic, not very noticeable.  People did not think much of me and neither did I.  I wonder if the people I grew up with would think any different if they saw me now.  In today’s gospel I imagine Jesus experienced something similar.  As a child, did Jesus go largely unnoticed, not garnering much attention because he was thought to be unremarkable.  He returned to a place where he was perceived one way but completely turned everything upside down.  This poor carpenter who no one thought would amount to anything announced he was the Messiah by saying that what had been written by the prophet Isiah had come to fruition.  The King of Kings was in their midst to bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, and sight to the blind.

I am sure we all had a variety of experiences growing up.  Maybe you were a fellow “fly under the radar” type or not.  But one thing is for certain, we are not the same as we once were.  In our faith journey we have each been called to bring glad tidings, liberate captives, and help people see.  Our baptism blessed us with an anointing as priest, prophet, and king.  Let us receive these gifts and actively pursue a meaningful relationship with God that will provide us with the grace to accept and declare that we, like Jesus, are messengers of faith, hope, and love.  And not only messengers but also devoted servants who put our faith into action so that anyone who encounters us encounters Christ.

Closing Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the encouragement you offer us as we experience the beginnings of your ministry and realization of your divinity.  May this be a rich source of grace that sustains our ministry to serve our sisters and brothers today and every day of our lives.

Action for the Day: Look for an opportunity to bring joy to someone with a smile, positive text, email, or phone call.  Provide some form of assistance to someone in need.  Share an insight, lesson, or realization with someone in an effort to help them see the goodness of God.

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