Third Sunday, Year C, 23 January, 2022: Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Jesus’ visit to his home town starts off well enough, but as will unfold next Sunday, it ends rather badly, with his neighbors attempting to kill him. The narrative doesn’t described how the change occurred which is baffling.
Who wouldn’t applaud Isaiah’s description of the Spirit’s anointing? The good news proclaimed to the poor, liberty to captives, sight recovered by the blind, the oppressed set free are all praiseworthy. They’re all very lovely when someone else makes them happen.
But what if Jesus expects me to be responsible for these changes? And they’re all departures from the status quo. What if he’s asking me to tackle this without coercion or force or influential clout? Or even if he’s just asking me to change my attitude to be more welcoming to these blessings for others? Would that inconvenience me in any way?
Even worse, might he also mean that I am somehow blind? Or oppressed by my denial, held captive by my own web of manipulation? Is he implying that the way I’m living lacks spiritual depth? Could the pursuit of comfort or connections, privilege or prestige leave me spiritually impoverished? What if they are not heavenly rewards for believing the correct opinions but rewards I give myself?
Shouldn’t religion be comforting and reassuring? Or is Jesus inviting me to faith pulling me out of my comfort and complacency?