Skip to main content

Third Sunday,Lent,C.Jan.21,01.Lk.13:1-9

3rd Sunday,C,Jan.21,2001

Concluding the Jubilee year and offering a new sense of hope in the new Millenium, the Holy Father closed the bronze door of St.Peter’s Basilica, on Jan.6 . He addressed the congregation with the following words: “ While today we close the Holy Door, a symbol of Christ, the heart of Jesus remains more open than ever.” The Holy father added further: “ We need to set out anew from Christ, with the zeal of Pentecost, with renewed enthusiasm, to set out from Him above all in a daily commitment to holiness.” The ceremonies of the Jubilee Year are thus over, but the work of the Jubilee now begins—begins in our hearts, in our families, in our neighborhoods and workplaces, the work of forgiveness, remission of debts, and compassion to the poor and the weak.

These are exciting times—we are witnessing the unfolding of a new millenium, the beginning of a New Year, the installation of a new Archbishop, and the inauguration of a new President. Words like a new era, a fresh start, a new administration etc are in the air now.

Thousands of years ago, there was this same yearning for a new beginning, for a fresh start, for a new relationship. To the people thirsting for such a new life after their return from the exile (583 B.C.) in Babylon, Ezra, the priest presented that new way by asking them to conform to the Law of God. Standing on a platform before the water Gate, Ezra read the law from daybreak until midday and people burst into tears. They cried in repentance as well as in joy: repentance because they could not live up to the demands of the Law while they were living in exile; joy, because God, still cared for them and offered them a new chance.

Out-shadowing all these fresh starts and beginnings, Our Lord faced the congregation of his own home town, centuries later and announced the beginning of a new era by appropriating to himself the words of the Prophet Isaiah about the Messiah. He announced to all of them that the words of the Prophet Isaiah concerning the Messiah were fulfilled in him and that He is the Savior, the Anointed of the Lord.

What type of new beginning has Jesus envisaged? Is it in any way similar to the new beginnings and fresh starts we have in mind? Do our economic theories, political philosophies and social theories match the principles laid out by Jesus? What should be our attitudes and perceptions in the light of these words of Jesus?

The people of Jesus’ time could not tolerate those ideas and they wanted to throw him out of their town. How can a carpenter’s on become a prophet all of a sudden? That is what perplexed them.

What does Jesus tell them? He tells them that his mission is to bring glad tidings to the poor. Jesus would later amplify the meaning of this when he says that the Blessed are the poor in spirit : the reign of God is theirs. Blessed are the sorrowing: they shall be consoled.

We are so much caught up in the glitter of wealth, pomp and glory that we never realize what it means to be impoverished, to have no shelter, and to be hungry. We don’t associate with people who are ill-dressed and we don’t receive them as our guests and we don’t feel happy when they join our company. We have such romantic notions of the poor that we see them as existing in far –off lands and not in our midst. We hold such contempt for poverty and we see the poor as the wretched of the earth, the misfit who misused the opportunities of life. But that is not the way Jesus sees. He says I have come to bring to joy their hearts, to make them feel happy and to wipe away the tears of misery from their lives. Where are we, the ardent followers of Christ, the regular participants in the life, the body and blood of Jesus? What have we done for the poor? How many times our hearts , thoughts and hands have been raised to defend the concerns of the poor?

Jesus says again that he has come to proclaim liberty to captives. Who are the captives? They are the captives of sin, of prejudice, of social ostracism. They are the people shunned by the society because of their way of life, because of their sickness, because of their inability to overcome the power of sin in their lives. They are in the prison of their mental darkness, of moral failures, of despair, of the lack of love experienced in their lives. We want them to wear the scarlet letter on their front and to be out of our sights. No Jesus says, I have come to offer them freedom, to offer them peace, to recover them from their mental agony and subjection to evil. What are our attitudes to people who have fallen into such situations? Do we have compassion for them, do we have the willingness to help them?

We are the anointed of Jesus and our task is to proclaim and live by this inaugural message of Jesus, and not the theories of political scientists or economists who have not heart for the poor and the weak. We shall ask the Lord to give us the grace to proclaim through our lives, His message: to offer glad tidings to the poor, to offer freedom to the captives and to offer sight to the blind.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fourth Sunday,LentB,April2.jn.3:14-21

Speaking of the mercy and hope instilled into him by the Gospel, St.Augustine says: “ Jesus came to us captives as a Redeemer, not an oppressor. The Lord shed His blood for us, redeemed us, gave us new hope …. Even while we are being tossed about by the waves on the sea, we have the anchor of hope already fixed upon the land.” The mercy and compassion of Jesus makes St.Augustine say again: “I will hold fast to you, Lord, as you hold fast to me.”As we are nearing the end of the period of Lent, we become more aware of the need of God’s mercy in our lives, in the context of our own sins and failures. All the readings from the Scriptures today speak to us about His great mercy and love.The Book of Chronicles shows how in spite of the infidelities of Israel and their betrayal of their faith in the Lord, God offers them hope in their period of suffering, in their time of captivity. God makes them understand that their period of captivity will be over soon and they will be brought to their m…

Fourth Sunday,Advent,99

Wordsworth, one of the most famouspoets of English Literature and whose poems most of us have read and studied wrote very magnificently about the Blessed Virgin Mary in one of his later poems, known as the Ecclesiastical sonnets. He speaks of Mary as “ our tainted nature’s solitary boast, purer than foam on central ocean tossed,” and “Brighter than Eastern skies at day break.” The Protestant writer and Professor of history at YaleUniversity, Prof.Jaroslav Pelican writes: “ It is impossible to understand the history of Western spirituality and devotion without paying attention to the place of the Virgin Mary.”Why has Mary captivated the imagination of poets, artists, writers and millions of ordinary people down through the centuries? The answer is given in today’s Gospel: “Hail Mary, full of Grace …you have found favor with God.” Mary is God’s favored daughter, unparalleled in spiritual and physical beauty, the recipient of all the beautiful blessings of God. That is why no century can…

Fourth Sunday,Ord.A,Feb.3,02.Mt.5:1-12

4th Sund.Ord.A,Feb.3,02All the readings in today’s Scriptures speak to us about the marvelous way in which God lifts up the poor and the humble to be carriers of his message and the symbols of His presence in the world.In the first reading, the Prophet Zephaniah points out how God would choose a remnant of Israel, a most humble section of the people who would live out in their lives their absolute and irrevocable faith in the Lord to symbolize his presence in the world. St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians again highlights the same point. It is the humble and the foolish of the world that God has chosen to be the announcers of His kingdom. “ God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise. God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong."These ideas get a clear focus when we come to Jesus as he begins to reveal the nature of His kingdom through the Sermon on the Mount.The Sermon on the Mount is a radical call to a new way of life, a way of life that is so different …