Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom.
He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Spreading freedom and hope
What impressed the people the most about Jesus’ teaching in today’s Gospel was the way in which he spoke. The words that came out of his mouth were “gracious” and without condemnation. Jesus delivered his words with a sense of hope and we must too. Words are so powerful. When they tumble out of our mouths, they have energy and power to either encourage or to humiliate others.
Our words can either build up or destroy the body of Christ. God desires that we think before we speak by offering what Jesus offered to us—grace, mercy, and love. A willingness to step outside of our comfort zones to encourage others is a start. Once there, we’ll be empowered by God’s grace to speak freedom and hope to those who may be bound by attachments, gripped by spiritual darkness or imprisoned by past hurts.
How will you respond to this call?
—Lori Stanley is the Executive Director of Loyola Institute for Spirituality in Orange, CA.
Lord, the more clearly I see myself as being created for a purpose, the more empowered I am to free myself from attachments. I surrender my will to work in concert with you to free souls. Send me. Amen.