Thursday after Epiphany
(I John 4:19-5:4; Luke 4:14-22)
In two weeks the world will focus on Joe Biden. People everywhere will watch him swear to faithfully fulfill the office of President of the United States. Then they will tune their ears to his inaugural address. They will try to discern his priorities as chief executive. Will he criticize China? Will he have reconciling words for Republicans? Today’s gospel presents an analogous situation. Jesus is making what amounts to an inaugural speech in the synagogue of Nazareth.
Jesus does not show any interest in reforming Jewish liturgical practices. Rather, he emphasizes care for the marginalized. He will preach to the poor, free the oppressed, and give sight to the blind. The people like what they hear. They are tired of injustice and want relief for the suffering. The course that Jesus will follow will alienate some of these current backers. He courts only God’s favor. He will demand that the people repent of selfishness and assist the needy.
We might see ourselves in an inaugural situation. With vaccinations we be making a fresh start after a hard year. We are wise to discern the lessons learned in 2020. It is important that we consider how our actions may affect the vulnerable. We want to care for the elderly and assure that the poor are treated fairly. We should make Jesus’ proposals our own. They will guide us to his glory.