Third Sunday of Ordinary time

Standard

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..

When Jesus reads this passage at the synagogue at Nazareth, it is the beginning of his ministry in that region, he uses this passage from Isaiah as his “mission statement.” At the end of the reading Jesus gives what has to be the shortest homily explaining the reading: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Surprisingly that one line caused an outrage among his townsfolk. They knew his background,and where he came from. For such a commoner to think they were the one to be the anointed one that completes this mission was enough to have Jesus driven out of town. The odd thing though is that this mission could be carried out by anyone and perhaps it is exactly what should be the mission of everyone in the synagogue and in the church.Aid to the poor, liberty, teaching and freedom  for all are within the grasp of everyone. So, what did they find objectionable?  Perhaps it was the first line: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he has anointed me .” Being anointed was a ritual only preformed on the appropriate people, and Jesus was not one of those people. It was for the priests, the sacred spaces, and for kings. It was not for laborers.Perhaps though Christ said the Lord anointed him, his fellow citizens were not going to grant him that same privilege.  That conflict though poses an interesting question. First who does the anointing of a person, is it man or God and secondly who’s anointing do we accept: Gods or Mans? Since this argument has two sides we are given a choice. We can accept that the spirit of the Lord is upon me and accept that grace given to us from God, or we can reject it and follow the crowd. Our reminders that the Spirit of the Lord is upon us reside in the ambry. They are the oils of chrism, oil of the catechumens and the oil  for the anointing of the sick.The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he has anointed me , and that anointing is within anyone’s reach.

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