Things to Ponder
I use this page to share messages of an inspirational nature, or simply something to ponder. It is my hope that you will always be inspired.
Homily Reflections - Gospel of Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Introduction: A Call to Mission
This Sunday’s Gospel reading combines two separate passages from the Gospel of Luke. First, in a prologue, we hear the opening verses where Luke establishes the purpose of his Gospel. Luke is following a style typical of ancient literature that often sets the tone and reason for a literary work. He opens his Gospel by emphasizing that “after investigating everything accurately,” he has decided to “write it down in an orderly sequence.” This prologue is addressed to Theophilus, whose identity is unknown. However, since his name means “Beloved of God,” Luke may be universalizing the identity and highlighting that every reader (yourself today) is the addressee.
The second part of this Sunday’s passage involves a jump in the text. Luke leapfrogs over a number of known passages (Annunciation, births of John the Baptist and Jesus, the baptism of Jesus, and the temptations) to Jesus’ first public appearance in his hometown of Nazareth. This is a major text for what we are seeing here is the solemn inauguration of Jesus’ public life and mission. It is truly his Inauguration Address!
If you were called to give your “Inauguration Address” why you are a follower of Jesus, what would you say? Your “mission statement?”
As Jesus stands in the synagogue “according to his custom,” he reads from the scroll handed to him; it contains the words of the prophet Isaiah. At this early moment in his ministry, Jesus announces his ministry in continuity with Israel’s prophetic tradition. This reading defines the person of Jesus and his public ministry: glad tidings will be brought to the poor and disadvantaged; freedom to those oppressed; recovery of sight to those searching.
Who are the people in your home, neighborhood, local community who most need to see this vision fulfilled in their lives? Be specific.
Where are you “unfree” in your own life?
I would invite you to take time to read and ponder the words from the Gospel of Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21.
What word or words caught your attention?
What in this passage comforted you?
What in this passage challenged you?
What surprised you?
Further Questions and Reflections:
Imagine: I sit in the humble village synagogue of Nazareth, not anticipating that I am about to witness a turning point in world history. Jesus, the sturdy, young local craftsman, is home again, fresh from his baptism in the River Jordan, where he had been identified as the beloved Son of God. All our eyes are fixed on him as he rolls up the scroll and sits down. A brief claim to his divine identity leads to a statement of his mission for all time. The “good news” has rippled out further and further for the past 2000 years. How am I sharing this “good news” here and now? How am I in continuity with Jesus?
I must take personally what God says here. He says: “You are the one I choose today to bring good news to the poor and oppressed. The Holy Spirit is upon you. I am sending you! Jesus saw these statements as giving him his identity. Do they give me mine?
If you were sitting in that synagogue and heard those words from Jesus (“Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing”), how would you react? Try to discern your thoughts and feelings.
“According to Jesus’ reading from Isaiah, divine favor is not a title of privilege but a call to transformative action. This reading reminds us that we are small but important parts of something greater than ourselves. As people of faith, our reality is not one of competition and hierarchy but of mutuality and care for the common good.” —Mahri Leonard-Fleckman
Consider how you respond to this promise and this call to be an equal and transformative member of the Body of Christ.
Deacon David Suley
St. Patrick Catholic Church
Published with Permission