Reading Reflections. Third Sunday Gospel C

By 11:23 AM



Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.

Theophilus means "friend of God" We don’t know much about him, except that he is a convert to Christianity who has already received some instructions. Luke wants to elaborate on these teachings by placing the Gospel message in an orderly fashion.
Luke will begin with the annunciation and birth of John the Baptism; the annunciation of birth of Jesus; Jesus’ presentation in the Temple after his circumcision; Jesus returning and remaining in the temple when he was twelve years old.
He adds material that neither Matthew nor Mark has in their Gospel narratives.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. What is not stated in today’s reading is the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan by John the Baptist and the affirmation of the Father as well as the pouring of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus in his humanity. Following that pivotal moment in Jesus’ life there is the first confrontation with the Devil in the Temptation story. Luke’s narrative now continues.
The role of the Spirit in Jesus’ personal life and public ministry is a strong emphasis in Luke’s Gospel. Luke wants to teach that Jesus in his humanity, anointed by the Spirit, was able to teach in a way that amazed the people. They knew that there was something different about Jesus and his ministry.
He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. Can you imagine the excitement in Nazareth when Jesus returns? Obviously, they had heard about what happened to him at the Jordan and what people were saying about his teachings.
Jesus is a faithful adherent to the covenant, so he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, probably along with Mary, his mother.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: 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. 
Luke sees this passage as a confirmation that Jesus was aware of what happened to him at the Jordan after he was baptized. The Spirit of God fell upon him and anointed him for the work he was called to do in proclaiming the message of the Kingdom of God.
It was a custom that, if an important person came into the synagogue, to honor that person by asking them to do the reading and give a reflection.
These signs—bring glad tidings to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, etc—were signs foretold by Isaiah and other OT prophets of the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Noticed that Jesus deliberately chose the reading from Isaiah, which he was very familiar with from his childhood upbringing.
How aware are we of the Spirit and his gifts in our life? How open are we to allowing the Spirit lead us?
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing." His interpretation was very brief and to the point. Isaiah was stating a sign of the coming of the Messiah in this passage. Jesus, without saying he was the Messiah, says today this passage is fulfilled in him.
The reactions of the people moved from amazement, to question and finally anger and rejection. They remembered Jesus growing up in their small village. They could not accept him to be any other than what they remembered.
This rejection by his neighbors and family members is the prelude to the rejections from others that Jesus will experience.
What application can we make from this passage in our life?

You Might Also Like

0 comments