January 27, 2019: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading: Luke 1: 1-4; 4:14-21
Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.
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.”
“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit”.
Those words, “in the power of the Spirit” leaped off the page as I read them and they directed my reflection. We see how the Spirit’s influence on Jesus affected his ministry and those whom he encountered as “news of him spread…. (and) He was praised by all.” In the synagogue on the Sabbath day in his own town, he proclaimed a pivotal passage from Isaiah. In my mind’s eye, I see him accepting the scroll and locating the passage that proclaimed his ministry. He knew that God’s Spirit was upon him and he identified completely and accurately with his mission as described in that Scriptural passage and he embraced that mission.
That same power of the Spirit has been given to us in Baptism. We, too, are empowered to bring glad tidings to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind and to let the oppressed go free. We can do it, our dear Mother Theodore assures us, as she counsels us “You will see many things in new lights if you give the Holy Spirit free access to your minds and your hearts.” Let us open our minds and hearts to the Holy Spirit who will empower us to do our part in bringing about the Reign of God.
Perhaps this week, we can pray to have an open mind and an open heart in our ministries so that we might let the Spirit move us as the Spirit will.