Monday, September 30, 2013

Nothing is Impossible with God

In today's first reading, Zachariah  8: 1-8, a small remnant of the Chosen People, those who survived the Babylonian exile, will be returning to Jerusalem, their sacred city that is now in shambles, completely ruined. Israel, a once world power, has been reduced to a small remnant of people.  Through the prophet Zachariah, God says to them:  I will return to Zion, and I will dwell within Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city [God allowed the Israelites to be conquered by other nations whenever they abandoned the covenant]...God also promises, through the prophet Zachariah, that  the elderly, once again, shall "sit in the streets of Jerusalem and  that this city shall again "be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets." God says to the people: "Even if this should seem impossible in the eyes of the remnant of the people, shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also...?"

God is a warrior who goes to battle for us to rescue us from those places where we have been exiled or exiled ourselves from the Truth. No matter how far away from the Lord you and I may have drifted, no matter how unfaithful we may have been, God is always faithful to His covenant to be our God, our Savior, our Helper in need.  He says to us,  as He said to the remnant of His Chosen People, "Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun, and from the land of the setting sun. I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem. They shall be my people, and I will be their God, with faithfulness and justice."

We are on our way to the New Jerusalem, our Eternal City, where justice and peace and love prevail, where there will be no more tears, no more war, no more devastation, a place where all will live in harmony with God, others and self.  This Victory, already won on the Cross by Jesus' obedience to the Father unto death, will be our victory as well, through Christ Jesus. The Victory begins here in our everyday life when we embrace God's holy will for us and for others, when we act in accordance with God's holy Will, when we seek God above all else and put God at the center of our lives, or more correctly, accept the fact that God already exists in the center of our very being, in our deepest core self, that is, our  God-self or our True Self.

This is my belief? What is yours?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

God: the glory in our midst restoring dashed hopes

In today's first reading, Zachariah 2: 5-9, 14-15, Zachariah is communicating a message of hope to a remnant of Israelites who return to Jerusalem from forty years of exile in Babylon.  They are devastating. Jerusalem lies in ruins.  The beautiful Temple built by Solomon is no more. In the midst of this devastation, angels appeal to Zachariah with the message: "People will live in Jerusalem as in an open country because of a multitude of people ...[and of herds of cattle and other animals] in her midst.  But I [the Lord] will be for her an encircling wall of fire, says the Lord, and I will  be the glory in her midst."

Hear the Lord saying that to us as we face the devastating effects of hurricanes, fires, floods,  tornadoes, tsunamis, wars, domestic violence; violence in our streets, schools, shopping malls, theaters; political wranglings and "wars" to maintain power over the other party.   In the rash of disasters, family members may be lost.  And, out of nowhere, an "angel" appears with a message of hope, reminding you that lost properties can be rebuilt, that life will get better, that there is work to be done and that you are all capable of doing that work.  Or, you yourself are the angel sent to areas of devastation to brighten their lives, bring hope, assist in the recovery efforts.  Yes, you yourself, God chooses to "be the glory in her midst." 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Greater Will Be the Future Glory of this House

In today's first reading, Haggai 2: 1-9, Haggai asked the returning Israelites what they see as they look upon the ruins of the Temple built by Solomon.  "Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory?' he asks. He then challenges them to take courage, to get to "work". He reminds them that God is in their midst.   "One moment yet, a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.  I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will come in.  And I  will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts."  Do we believe that the Temple of the Lord will be rebuilt in our midst? that every nation, the world, our churches, our families, our religious communities will be returned  to their original glory? Returning closer to home, do I believe that I will, once again, be filled with my first love--if married, to the love I first felt for my spouse; if in religious life, to the first love I had for my religious community and its mission; do I believe that God is returning me to my first love when nothing was too much to grow in intimacy with the Lord? If I have fallen away from my faith, my trust, my deep love for the Lord and those with whom I share life and ministry, work and play, do believe that God will restore "this house in its former glory," if I am willing to cooperate with Him in doing so? Do I believe in the Lord's promise by the prophet Haggai, that "greater will be the future glory of this house,"  including the future glory of "this house" in eternity when I am clothed with immortality?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Redeemed, Restored, Resurrected to Glory

In today’s first reading,  Ezra 9: 5-9, the prophet is bowed down in grief as he considers the ways in which the Chosen People have sinned against the Lord, our God.  “From the time of our fathers even to this day great has been our guilt, and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up, we and our kings and our priests, to the will of the kings of foreign lands, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace, as is the case today.”   How true all of this is in our day as well. Our country, our families, our society, our church and the world at largehave been delivered up to sin, to the slavery of selfishness, to the lust for power,  control, for pleasures of all sorts at other people’s expense.  Our lands are pillaged by earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, tsunamis.  The lives of our children are ruined by human traffickers, drug traffickers, perpetrators of domestic violence and wars within and between nations, violators of human rights, especially those of the poor and even those of the unborn.  We are brought low on all sides.   
Ezra, not only acknowledges his peoples’ sins but also recognizes God’s incredible mercy, saying:  “And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the Lord, our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place; thus our God has brightened our eyes and given us relief in our servitude.” Do you and I  realize that, in our day, Jesus has given us “a stake in his holy place,” by His death and resurrection, by the Eucharist and the Word of God in our midst, by each of the sacraments that restore us to right relationships with each other, with our deepest self--our God-self-- and with the world around us? By God’s mercy, you and I are being transformed every day into vessels of His grace and mercy as we carry the Good News and are “Good News” people to those we encounter! Oh, may that be so in an abundance today, as God blesses our efforts to experience our redemption and relate as the redeemed!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Setting Us Straight

In today’s first reading,  Ezra 6: 7-8, 12, 14-20, the Jews, who  had returned to Jerusalem following their exile in Babylon, rebuild the Temple at God’s command and through the cooperation of the pagan king Cyrus and Darius, the encouragement of the prophets and financial help of the Persian empire.  There wasn’t separation of church and state back then.  All worked together to bring about the will of God for the good of the Chosen People, the People of God.  Today, as well, God uses everyone and everything as an instrument of His will, even those whom we might perceive as our enemy, as opposing our religion, as not endorsing our beliefs.  As Jesus says in today’s Gospel, Luke 8: 19-21,  those who do the will of His Father are brothers, sisters and mother to Him.
This morning, the Lord drew home to me that obedience to His will is what He asks of me, not my clinging to my schedule or to my morning routine.  Five minutes into my hour of prayer, the fire alarm blared through the building. All were escorted to one “safe” place.  Ten minutes later, thinking all was clear, I returned to chapel, only to be called back to the “safe” place for another 30 minutes.  My hour of prayer was, to say the least, disrupted and basically close to its conclusion. I am boiling inside when, all of a sudden, the Lord says to me in the quiet of my heart:  “My will for you this morning is to be respectful of procedures put in place to keep the residents of this facility safe and to let go of idolatrizing your scheduled routine.”  To say the least, I was humbled and grateful!

Be attentive today to how God communicates His will to you, through whom and through what circumstances of your life, and what structures you might have erected as your sacred idol?  A clue might be how strongly you react to something or someone. Behind that reaction, if you probe deeply enough, you might find that which you, too, need to let go of in submission to God’s holy will!

Friday, September 20, 2013

St. Paul and Pope Francis' Challenge

In today’s first reading, 1 Tim 6: 2c-12, St. Paul challenges those of “morbid disposition for arguments and verbal dispute,” from which flow “rivalry, insults, evil suspicions, and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds,” who use religion as “a means of gain.”  Those are strong words and are much like those spoken by Pope Francis.  “In an extraordinary interview that electrified the Catholic world, [Pope Francis] said that the Roman Catholic Church has become unduly obsessed with condemning abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. The church, he said, should emphasize compassion and mercy instead of ‘small-minded rules’—[sounds like Jesus confronting the Pharisees]. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel,” the pope said in the 12,000-word interview, published by major Jesuit publications around the world, including the New York-based America magazine.

St. Paul and Pope Francis, I believe, urge us to stop the arguing, stop entering into verbal disputes and, instead, “…pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called…” (1 Tim. 6: 2c-12).  Are we, I ask, devoted to Christ or are we worshipping our devotions, our “small-minded rules” and regulations? Are we, I ask, devoted to the God of our salvation or to the pompous positions, the compulsive or obsessive need to win arguments at other people’s expense, to prove that we are right and the other person wrong? Am I doing more condemning than showing love, compassion, understanding, or patience with myself and other sinners?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Affirming the Dignity of Others and Ourselves, Lo

Today’s Gospel, Luke 7: 36-50, tells the story of Jesus accepting  Simon’s  invitation to dine with him. Simon is a Pharisee.  As Jesus reclines at table a woman enters.  She brought with her an alabaster flask of ointment, stands behind Jesus at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears and wipes them with her hair.  Simon is thinking something like this: “How can Jesus allow this woman to do this. She is a known sinner, has done things that are a disgrace to the community.  If Jesus is truly a prophet, he would know what kind of woman this person is.”  Jesus knows what Simon is thinking and tells the story of two persons who are in debt to their master and both are forgiven, one of a larger amount than the other. He asks Simon: Which one will love his master more? And, rightly, Simon says: “The one who was forgiven more.”  He then directs Simon’s gaze to the woman at Jesus’ feet and tells him that her many sins have been forgiven; hence she is showing me great love.  “She’s washed my feet; you did not do that when I entered.”  “She’s kissed my feet; you did not kiss me when I entered your house.”  “She’s anointed my feet; you did not anoint my head when I came into your house.” 
Wow! Jesus has just taught us several things: acceptance of everyone, the danger of being judgmental and how passing judgment on others blocks us from seeing God at work in them and seeing their goodness, the significance of expressing love, of being attentive to the needs of our guests and to welcoming gestures that communicate our openness to them, our affection for them, and our respect of their dignity as a human being. Jesus expected that of Simon and He expects that of us (by treating others respectfully, we are showing respect to Jesus).

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Greatness of the Works of the Lord

Our responsorial psalm, Ps. 111, begins with the acclamation: “How great are the works of the Lord.”  You and I are "the works of the Lord!"

As  I prayed that verse, I looked  at the Sister  who was also in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.   A sense of awe came over me in contemplating the wonder of the human person that begins in its mother’s womb as a single cell. God knits our bodies together in our mother’s wombs, creating each of the physical systems to work in harmony with and  dependent upon each other to function well and realize the fullness of life to which we are called.  And we are not just a physical body. We also possess a spiritual body, the essence of who we are, where the Trinity dwells, where we are our true selves, undefiled by the limitations of the world or blocked from wellness by Satan’s jealousy. We are truly great and called to greatness in the Lord Jesus, to, someday,  take our place with Jesus in glory!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Aspirants to holiness

In today’s first reading, 1 Tim 3: 1-13, Paul addresses bishops, deacons and women.  As I reflected upon his message, I applied it to all Christians, to disciples of Christ, to all of us aspiring for holiness.  It then reads something like this:
“Beloved, this saying is trustworthy: whoever aspires…[to be a disciple of Christ] must be irreproachable,…temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money.  [One who aspires to holiness] must manage…[one’s own person] well, keeping…[oneself] under control with perfect dignity; for if…[a person] does not know how to manage…[oneself], how can…[such a person] take care of the Church of God  [the people of God]?   ….[Such a person] must also have a good reputation among outsiders, so…[as not to] fall into disgrace, the Devil’s trap.”
Furthermore, all who aspire to holiness, “must be dignified, not deceitful, not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain, holding fast to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience….Thus those who serve well…gain good standing and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.”

Wow!  We know that none of us acquires this dignity on our own. We all need Christ and the Holy Spirit working within us. We all need the sacraments and the Word of God instructing and transforming us on a daily basis.   Without God, we will not attain this stature of being Christ’s disciples or being serious aspirants to holiness.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Authority, Faith, Miracles

In today’s Gospel, Luke 7:1-10, we are given the example of a centurion, a foreigner, believing in Jesus’ power to heal his slave, or anyone for that matter.  Not feeling worthy to approach Jesus, recognizing Jesus’ authority and power, he does not personally come into Jesus’ presence but asks his elders to take his request to Jesus.  The centurion recognizes the importance of authority and respects authority. He himself, in fact, occupies a position of authority. He tells  Jesus that his soldiers go where he tells them to go and that his slaves do what they are asked to do.  Jesus was amazed at the faith of this centurion and says: “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”  And when the centurion’s messengers returned to the house, “they found the salve in good health.”
Am I respectful of authority? Do I recognize the importance of authority or am I resentful of persons who have authority over me? Does my attitude toward authority get in my way of believing in the miracles that come from being cooperative and forgiving, of praying for those in authority, especially for those whose commands I find difficult to carry out?  Does my resentment of authority and my exaggerated importance of my own authority obstruct my openness to Jesus’ authority to heal, to do the impossible in my life, in the life of others, in the church, the world, the society in which I live?  In other words, am I the centurion or one of the Israelites in today’s Gospel story?                                 

Friday, September 13, 2013

"Wooden Beams" or "Splinters"

In today’s Gospel, Luke 6: 39-42, Jesus challenges us concerning assuming the position of judging others, of noticing “the splinter” in our brothers’ or sisters’ eyes but not seeing “the wooden beam” in our own.  “You hypocrite,” Jesus says, “[r]emove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s [sister’s] eye.”
In the first reading, 1 Timothy 1: 1-2, 12-14, we hear of Paul, from whom the Lord Himself removed the wooden beam obstructing His vision of who Jesus is. Paul expresses gratitude to the Lord that he was set free from his blindness and considered worthy to be Christ’s ambassador, a bearer of the Good News of  salvation to us Gentiles.  He admits that before his conversion he was “a blasphemer,” “a persecutor” and an “arrogant man.”  God was merciful to him, he states, because he “acted out of ignorance” in “his disbelief.”   “Indeed,” he says, “the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
What “wooden beams” do I need to take out of my eye?  From what blindness do I need healing?  Who do I persecute by my arrogance? About whose “splinter” do I gossip while being blind to the huge pieces of wood blurring my vision? Like Paul, I, too, know that many times I act out of ignorance—“Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing”—but at other times I know that I am being arrogant and a persecutor of other persons by my silence, perhaps, or by speaking behind their backs or simply not being honest with them in ways that would remove obstructions to our growth in love, in honesty, in respect and integrity.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Wardrobe of Virtue

All of us know the experience of getting dressed in the morning, putting on our very best, clothing ourselves in a way that we felt absolutely  great.  We felt so good and looked so good that we danced down the stairs for all to see. We were thrilled at how we looked. What we wear truly does make a difference.  In today’s first reading, Colossians 3: 12-17, St. Paul encourages us,  as “God’s chosen ones,”  as God’s “holy and beloved” sons/daughters, to put on “heartfelt compassion,”  to clothe ourselves with “kindness”, to  array ourselves with “humility”,  to don “gentleness” and to slip into “patience.”  Sit back an image yourself  pulling those “outfits” out of your closet!  Then, Paul says, “over all these put on love.”
The Lord modeled this wardrobe for us as He walked the face of this earth, died on Calvary after being stripped of his earthly wardrobe, nailed to the cross, left to die and rose again.  Every day of our lives, from birth to this very day, the Lord wants to clothe us with patience, gentleness, humility, kindness, mercy and compassion. And over all of these virtues, God wills to give us love, a love poured out for us on Calvary and bequeathed to us in each of the sacraments and in our love for others and  other’s love for us, especially that of our parents and/or significant other. Is my heart receptive of the “clothing” given from above, the only clothing that will matter when I stand before the gate of heaven at the end of my life?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Living in Christ Jesus

In today’s first reading, Colossians 3: 1-11, St. Paul tell us exactly what it looks like if we are truly  living a life in Christ Jesus, if we truly have died and risen with Christ. If so, we no longer live lives of deceit, immorality, impurity, evil desires or greed.  Having been clothed in a robe of salvation, having put on Christ, we are now striving to be honest, first with ourselves and then with others. If self-honesty is nonexistent, so, too, is honesty with others. Self-honesty implies the humility to acknowledge my wrongdoing, my weaknesses and my vulnerabilities.  With whom do I do that?
To live a life in Christ means that we are rejecting demands that are based solely on greed, that reference all things to “what am I getting out of this,” that are only self-serving, that basically foster pride and self-aggrandizement.  We are putting in check our tendency to become easily annoyed, angered and frustrated.  We are striving to avoid occasions of sin, acknowledging when and where and with whom we are most vulnerable to Satan’s snares and avoiding those situations and/or persons.  In and with and through Christ Jesus we are seeking “what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God,” as we are very much aware that when Christ, our life, appears, we, too, “will appear with him in glory.”  We are on a journey, not of this world, but of the world hereafter, where our true home resides.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rooted in Christ Jesus

In today’s first reading, Colossians 2: 6-15, St. Paul reminds us that in Christ “dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily,” and that you and I share in this fullness.   Through baptism, we  “are rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith.”   “See to it,” Paul says to us, “that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy” according to human tradition, “according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ.”   By being “rooted in Him”  we are rooted in the richest of soils,  soil that leads to sharing “in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power.”

I am rooted in the ultimate Source of goodness.  Therefore,  I am  capable of all that is good! And so are you!  I believe it! Do you?

Friday, September 6, 2013

"Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5)

In  today’s Gospel, Luke 5: 33-39, the Scribes and Pharisees are again at odds with Jesus. Nothing Jesus does is right for them. This time, they confront him because his disciples do not fast or offer prayers like their disciples do.  The Scribes and Pharisees do not recognize that something New is taking place, that the Messianic Kingdom has arrived, that the Old Covenant is being replaced by the New Covenant.  As Jesus’ proclamation of the New Kingdom spreads by his healing of all who are brought to him with every kind of disease and demons are commanded to leave the area, and unjust practices are challenged,  the Scribes and Pharisees speed up their attacks on Jesus, trying to trick him, looking for ways to trap Him and find cause to put him to death.  They do not want their world of laws and rituals that have been in vogue for hundreds of years to be disturbed.  They do not want any change in their rituals or in their lives.  As Jesus says at the end of this Gospel: “…[N]o one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”

The same scenario is occurring in the Catholic Church.  There are people among the laity, the clergy and women and men religious who vehemently cling to past rituals or traditions from of old, who do not want their lives disturbed by change of any kind.  The past, for some, is enshrined in gold.

How willing are you and I to accept the inevitability of change in  the Catholic Church, in the way we express our faith, in the externals of our religion, in ritual and sacramental changes; in short, in the way God works? How open are we to the changes that inevitably occur in our personal lives, our family lives, our religious community, our parish?


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Being Filled with Knowledge of God's Will

In today’s first reading, Colossians 1: 9-14, St. Paul prays for us, asking that the Lord fill us with knowledge of God’s will and that we  walk in ways that are worthy of the Lord and fully pleasing to Him.  We are capable of fully pleasing God only because Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead to new life, ascended to His Father and dispatched the Holy Spirit to be with us until the end of time.

 With Jesus, we, too, have died to sin and rose to new life in Him, with Him and through Him in our Baptism,  at our Confirmation, and by our participation in the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation. The God-life within us and in the world is secured by the Power of the Holy Spirit, with whom we are cooperating when we do what is right and just in God’s eyes, when we follow God’s commands and seek to do His will. 

We see the power of God operative in human life in the story given in today’s Gospel, Luke 5: 1-11 where Peter and his companions cooperate with Jesus.   Jesus gets into Simon’s boat and asks him to move out a short distance from the shore. From there He teaches the crowd and, when finished, asks Peter to row out into the deep waters and lower their nets for a catch. Peter tells Jesus that they have been fishing all night long and caught nothing but at His command will again lower the nets. The catch is so great that their nets were being torn and they needed help getting the fish into the boat. Two boats were filled to the point of sinking. Seeing this, Peter falls down before the Lord and says: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

Can anyone of us not afford to partner with Jesus and obey the will, the commands, of our God?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Gift of Faith, Hope and Love

“…[B]ecause of the hope reserved for you” is the reason St. Paul ascribes to the Colossians’ faith in Jesus and their “love for the holy ones” ((Colossians 1: 1-8).  This is the same hope and faith in Christ Jesus that motivated Simon and his companions, in today’s Gospel, Lk 4: 38-44, to ask Jesus to intercede for Simon’s mother-in-law, who was afflicted with a severe fever. Jesus “stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.”  It was faith, hope, and love in the hearts of people who, that day at sunset, came to Peter’s house bringing “people sick with various diseases.” Jesus “laid hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting ‘You are the Son of God.’ But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.”  Jesus worked all night, healing the people who were brought to him. “At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place.”

Like the people in today’s Gospel, we, too, need to present our “diseases” and “demons” to Jesus. As He  walked the earth in Palestine, Galilee, Capernaum and other mid-East cities, towns, and villages, healing all who came to Him, so, too, today does He walk among us, healing us and casting out our demons, working in the darkness of our lives.  You may object, saying “I’ve begged Jesus to heal my mother, mother-in-law, son, daughter, my wife/husband, my friend and nothing’s happened!  He doesn’t pay any attention to me.”  It may seem that way. However, Jesus sees the whole picture—He sees what healing really needs to occur and which needs to be withheld for a deepening of our faith, hope and love to which  our physical seeing may be blind. And when we are left in the darkness of our “nights,” God is always at our side.  Darkness is not dark to Him, so He will lead us by the hand and secure our wobbly, doubting steps.

"Lord, I believe; help my unbelief" (Mk 9:24).

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Waiting for the Lord in Courage

In today’s first reading, 1 Thes 5: 1-6, 9-11, St. Paul reminds us that “the Lord will come like a thief at night.”  However, he says,  we are “not of the night or of darkness.” Being a child “of the light” and a child  “of the day,” we are capable of being “alert and sober,” at the Lord’s coming.  In fact,  this particular day will be a day of great rejoicing because “God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him.”

What awesome promises and capabilities.  By virtue of our redemption in Christ Jesus, we have nothing to fear.  Our destination is God’s welcoming invitation to enter life eternal, where there are no more tears, no more suffering, no more death, no more violence, no more sin.  Pure light and holiness,  total transformation into Christ awaits us. 

With the writer of today’s responsorial psalm, we pray: “I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living,” and I also “wait for the Lord with courage; [am] stouthearted in my “wait for the Lord.”

What about you?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Jesus, Bearer of Good News

In today’s Gospel, Jesus enters the synagogue, as He had always done during the Sabbath.  He is handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and opens to the passage which reads:

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.

This is Jesus, the Son of God, reading this passage. Jesus tells us that the Father anointed Him “to bring glad tidings to the poor,” to us, that He “has been sent [by the Father] to proclaim liberty to captives,” yes to us; and to bring “recovery of sight to the blind,” to you and me, to free us from our oppression!

Like the Jews who were listening to Jesus and who dismissed him, saying “Is he not the son of Joseph,” do you and I find a reason to reject His message?  Do we choose to remain blind, oppressed, unfree because Jesus, in our minds, is only the son of Joseph, not the Son of God sent by the Father to bring us good news of salvation? On the one hand, do we dismiss God’s message because we do not like the one who delivers it?  On the other hand, when we are the instrument that God invites to proclaim the Gospel, to share our faith, do we resist because, after all, whom am  I, I’m only so and so’s son/daughter!