January 6th, 2022

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.

Reflection: Do you remember as a kid trying to fit in by being recognized as part of a “popular” group?  Maybe it was sports, academics, fashion, or any of the other ways we could find an identity though acceptance, appreciation, and admiration. This kid (Pablito) was not an athlete, accomplished student, not a dancer, fashionista, or associated with any of the “In” crowd. It took me a very long time to get to a place in my life where what people thought of me was not that important. Sad to say I didn’t get there until well into my adult life; probably my late 40’s to early 50’s.

In today’s Gospel Jesus returns home to reveal who he was and His purpose in life. At first, he was looked upon with favor because of his charisma, presence, and reputation but that did not last long (read to the end of this chapter).  Especially when they realized He was claiming to be the Son of God. I wonder, beside what may be obvious, what was going through their minds? This was one of their own from a poor town and a simple family. How could He even think of making such a statement? He was not who they expected Him to be and felt threatened. Why?

Don’t we get and have the same reaction when someone claims to be something or someone outside of our expectations. We can even do this to ourselves when our inside voice tells us we are not good enough or not loveable or worthy. This is a worldly view that is ever at the ready to tear down or deny the goodness or worthiness of anyone, especially someone we think does not meet our standards. This is not how God sees us! There is not a soul who has ever existed that Our Father does not look upon with passion and inconsolable longing. We do not have to be a certain way, belong to any group, or measure up to anyone’s standard. We are the apple of His eye. Today, in the reading of this gospel you and I are reminded that love came to liberate, provide sight, and proclaim that we are worthy of more than this world could ever offer.

Action of the Day: At some point today look in the mirror and gaze upon the object of an eternal and everlasting love. Look at some or many the same way (not in a creepy way) as those worthy of your and God’s incredible and healing love.

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