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Third Sunday C: January 23, 2022

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

Fr. John Tran

Last week we read of the miracle of the wine from water at Cana, which was the first sign Jesus performed showing who he was, that is, one who had power, power from God. Today we have something that is, in a way, even more shocking. Jesus tells the congregation in the synagogue that the long hoped for prophesy of Isaiah is fulfilled. He is saying that the Messiah has come, that everything is changed. He is saying that he is the messiah who will “bring glad tidings tot he poor...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.” What kind of message is that? It is a message which says that everything the Jewish people had been waiting for is happening. That the Kingdom of God is at hand. At this point Jesus has their complete attention; there is an air of expectancy. But will it last? Wait until the audience finds out what this will really mean for them.

The first reading from the prophet Nehemiah had a similar meaning for the Jews of that earlier time. The Law had been lost and the people in exile. Here, the Israelites had returned to Jerusalem, and they had found the Word of God , the Law, which had been lost to them for many years. It was a time to rejoice and be glad. That is the same thing Jesus is telling his audience in the synagogue, and even more: that the Word of God was fulfilled now, not just something to be hoped for.

Now, what does all of this say to us sitting here today? It reminds us that we are indeed living in a time of complete fulfillment, even more so than was the congregation in the synagogue on that Sabbath day. Because we know how Jesus life actually turned out. We know of the good he did, the lessons he taught, the miracles he performed, and most of all, of the passion, death and resurrection Jesus Christ live out. We know that the scripture is fulfilled beyond what anyone could imagine. Our sins are forgiven, and most of all, Jesus made us actual children of God. Jesus made us into his body, as the second reading says, “Now you are Christ’s body, and individual parts of it.” We are part of it no matter what our back ground is, what our race is, what our economic standing is, what language we speak. But it is here that the tables are turned on us.

We are Christ’s Body. We make Christ present today using our different talents and abilities. The thing is, WE are now charged with making the Kingdom of God began to happen. It is how we live and what we say that makes the difference now, just as Jesus did in his earthly time. He is with us in so many ways to help us: the sacraments, the scriptures, in our prayer, in each other. WE are the ones who now bring glad tidings to the poor, and not tidings only, but actions and assistance. We set free captives, captives of poverty, sinful life, drugs, a world that has lost its sense of right and wrong in corruption of many kinds. We give sight and hope to the blind and set those oppressed by so many things free.

In the end, we are called to love as Jesus loved. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “Love cannot remain by itself -- it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action and that action is service. A mission of love can come only from union with God. From that union, love for the family, love for one’s neighbor, love for the poor is the natural fruit.” That is what it means to bring the Kingdom of God into reality; that is what Jesus preached.

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