The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle C

Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Today's Gospel passage is in two distinct parts. It begins with the opening paragraph of Luke's account. It is addressed to a friend, Theophilus [whose name means 'beloved of God']. Luke implies that Theophilus has already been instructed orally in the message of Jesus but Luke will now present him with an "accurate and orderly" account of Jesus' life and teaching.

Luke clearly acknowledges that he himself never saw Jesus. His gospel was written at least 50 years after Jesus' death and resurrection. Yet he wants to assure his friend that what he writes is accurate and is based on the experiences of people who did know Jesus personally. At the same time, it is important to remember that Luke, like the other evangelists who have differing versions of the same events, is not writing a scientific biography. We can not read the Gospel as an historical dissertation. His first and most important purpose - as we see in the second part of today's passage - is to tell us the meaning of Jesus' life, death and resurrection for our personal lives and why we should accept and follow Jesus as our King and Lord.

And what do we hear in this passage? "He has anointed me." That is a way of saying "I am a king". A king was proclaimed by anointing. And what kind of king is Jesus going to be? There immediately follows a proclamation, a programme or manifesto of what we can expect from him. Today we might call it a 'mission statement'.
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 of the Lord’s favour.

The words are to be taken both literally and symbolically.

They are addressed directly to the materially poor, those in prison, the physically blind, the oppressed and exploited of the world, to "you who are poor, weep, are hungry and oppressed". The message for them is one of hope, of healing and of liberation.

“He has sent me to proclaim liberty, recovery and freedom.” Jesus is ready to do all this, but He waits for my personal engagement. He expects that I will meet Hi personally. This is the necessary condition of healing, recovery and liberation.

A short story:

A shoemaker, in a dream was told that he would see Jesus the next day. He waited in his store all day. The only one who came in the morning was an old and poor man. His shoes were worn out. The shoemaker gave him a fresh pair at no charge. In the afternoon came an old woman. She was hungry. The shoemaker promptly gave her his own lunch. As evening approached, a child came in crying bitterly. She was lost. The shoemaker took her home to the other end of town. Returning, he was certain that he had missed his rendezvous with the Christ.

Then he heard a voice.
"...I kept my word. Three times today I came to your door.
Three times my shadow was on your floor.
I was the beggar with bruised feet.
I was the woman you gave food to eat.
I was the lost child you took home."

There are no more shoemakers nowadays; we all are living in the modern society, but there are still the poor and needy and Jesus is constantly coming and asking:

How many times did I already come to you? And you didn’t recognize me.
How many times did I try to enter your life? And you didn’t accept me.

Actual reality of God is the reality of God constantly coming to me. He is coming and sometimes it is so embarrassing, so uncomfortable …

And so, what is the meaning of Jesus' life, death and resurrection for my personal live?

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