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. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."
We are now in early stages of what the church calls, "ordinary time." Things get back to what we consider normal from what they were a month ago. It's the last weekend of the first month of the year, and the Church, in its wisdom, presents readings for this weekend that kick us off for the new year. It is believed that Saint Luke never met Jesus, but thought enough to know, and most importantly, was divinely inspired, to write down everything he could about the life of Jesus. In chapter 4 of Luke's gospel, we find Jesus reading from the prophet Isaiah, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor; to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord." Later we find Jesus performing miracles of healing the blind, lame, and poor. Jesus brings literal healing, but also figuratively even today. How many of us are poor in spirit? If we aren't, then we probably know some people who are. All of us try, but we slip. We call it sin and we can become mired in it if we are not careful. But Jesus came to pull us out of despair. Others go through life with blinders on. They cannot see beyond their own scope or don't notice others in their suffering. They are blind in spirit. They don't know Jesus. Jesus came to give them sight. Many are oppressed. They are captured by sin, substance abuse, domestic violence, societal or governmental tyranny. Jesus came to release them from their bondage. It is a new year, and Jesus came to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Let us make this year a year acceptable to the Lord by living out the gospel with courage, conviction and strength. May we be empowered by the Spirit dwelling in us, to bring visit the sick and suffering, help the oppressed become free, and help the blind in spirit see by sharing the good news.