- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

January 9, 2020

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

Thursday after Epiphany
1 John 4:19-5:4; Luke 4:14-22

Today’s Gospel recounts a visit of Jesus to the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. The Incarnate Word read from the scroll containing the words Isaiah the prophet Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings…” (Is. 61:1). In Christ, the promise of glad tidings had been fulfilled. When we were baptized we clothed ourselves in Christ. Like him, we are to proclaim glad tidings to the whole world. When we were baptized into Christ, we are baptized into his death and brought to share in the fullness of life. As disciples of him who has made all things new, our care must be to allow God to use us, as he chooses, to build up the heavenly kingdom. As I was preparing this reflection I remembered a comment attributed to John Wesley:

“Do All the Good You Can,
In All the Ways You Can,
In All the Places You Can,
At All the Times You Can,
And as long as you can.
To All the People You Can.”

Just as the Word of God is living and active, so too must our faith in His Word. Having pondered the Word in our hearts, we can speak the Word with our lips. Having spoken the Word, let us strive to incarnate it in our lives. Because Christ has conformed us to himself, all the graces and gifts of the Spirit that were upon Him have been made available to us. As his grace grows in us, we can declare the acceptable time to a chaotic and broken world. It is never too late to turn to the Prince of Peace and begin the journey of hope that leads to forgiveness and solidarity. The victory of Christ over the powers of darkness is the cornerstone of our hope.

This hope enables us to move forward, even when we face obstacles that seem insurmountable. The Word spoken must be received and pondered. We can only hope to make peace a reality by engaging in honest dialogue and mutual trust. The world has heard enough empty promises and meaningless words. It needs to see the Word living and abiding in our lives. We are called to proclaim the acceptable time, to become living gospels for others to encounter. In order for the Word to be fulfilled in our day, we must be willing to run the path of God’s commandments with hearts expanded by the inexpressible sweetness of love. If we are willing to do this we will be able to break the spiral of vengeance. Then, walking hand-in-hand we shall ascend the Holy Mountain where no one will harm or kill anyone again (Cf. Is. 11:9). Having learned to forgive one another, we will be transformed into a people of justice and peace. May the Spirit of the Lord rest upon us. May his anointing make us bearers of glad tidings, and transform us into artisans of justice and builders of lasting peace.