CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 24 August 2019

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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time — Joy of my heart light to my feet

The first part of the gospel today is about the investigation of Luke in order to compile the gospel, verifying the truth of the stories that people talked about Jesus. The second part is the beginning of Jesus’ public life in his township Galilee, and the narrated episode is the programme of all the activities of Jesus. 
 
It was a Saturday. Like every pious Jew, Jesus goes to the synagogue. 
 
There are two readings and the one who reads the second text usually does the homily. The homily is pretty easy: it is enough to memorize the explanations and comments made by the great rabbis and refer their opinions. 
 
Jesus is invited for the second reading and the homily. He found the text from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy.” Then, he rolls up the scroll, delivers it to the attendant and sits; all eyes are fixed on him. The rabbis explained the Word of God while sitting. Assuming this position Jesus is emphasising that he has become the teacher. 
 
Who is the man charged with bringing good news to the poor? Who is Isaiah talking about? The prophet refers to a character who, about 400 years before Christ, was sent by God to comfort the children of Israel who returned from exile in Babylon. 
 
They lived in the dramatic situation of  the rich exploiting the poor, the owners did not pay their workers, the strong dominated the weak (Isaiah 56:10–57:2). 
 
In this historical context, a man invested by the Spirit of the Lord is sent to proclaim the “year of grace,” “jubilee,” the time when all debts are forgiven, ends all forms of slavery and justice is re-established. 
 
Today—Jesus begins to proclaim—“these prophetic words come true”. He does not comment on the text of the prophet but proclaims its fulfillment. Today begins the year of grace, the endless feast for everyone because to everyone, in God’s name, salvation, free and without conditions is announced. 
 
Today the word of Jesus begins to free not only from diseases—which are a sign of a decrease in life—but from all the psychological and moral barriers that prevent growth and inhibit the inspirations of love. The tangle of uncontrolled passions that cause people to fall back on themselves in the pursuit of self-interest, the thirst for possessions, the frenzy of power and success are chains. 
 
These evils, today, begin to be crushed. The irresistible force that breaks them is that of the Holy Spirit (v.14) who is at work in Jesus not only when he performs miraculous healings, but also when, with his powerful word, he breaks the bonds that envelop and keep people in the state of slavery (Luke 4:3).
 
 
 ● Father Fernando Armellini SCJ
Claretian Publications
bibleclaret.org
 
Translated by 
Father John Ledesma SDB
Abridged by Father Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF