Thursday, January 9, 2020

Christmas Weekday


(I John 4:19-5:4; Luke 4:14-22)


Fifty-seven years ago John Kennedy inspired the world in his inaugural address.  “The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans,” the young president said, “born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage....”   Similar cadence and purpose may be noted in Jesus’ “inaugural address” in the gospel today.


Jesus has returned to his hometown to give his first discourse.  He enters the synagogue, takes the scroll with a passage from Isaiah, and reads. “’The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,'" he says, "'because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor…to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind…”   Then he declares, “’…this prophecy is fulfilled in your hearing.’”  The world can sigh in relief.  Like President Kennedy, Jesus has youth and capability to carry out his project.  More than the thirty-fifth President, his undivided heart will assure its accomplishment.


Kennedy was not a great man because he was Catholic.  However, his faith contributed to his concern for the oppressed, his need to confront evil, and to his loyalty to tradition.  History has shown that he was not perfect.  Nevertheless, to the extent that he pursued gospel renewal, we should aspire to be like him.