When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’”
And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage.They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
Even before I met a Jesuit, I took up St. Ignatius’ admonition: “go…and set the world on fire.” Change the world – that’s what I wanted to do!
Then I grew up. Somewhere along the way, I realized that passion alone was not enough. I needed an agenda that would channel my zeal. And that is when today’s Gospel became real for me. Question: “So how, exactly, do you plan to set the world on fire?” Answer: “Preach good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, give sight to the blind, and set at liberty those who are oppressed.” And lest anyone was dozing during the day’s reading, Jesus’ homily made it clear. He would not be working flashy miracles in their midst; rather, Jesus would minister to the least, the lost, and the last.
Not a bad agenda. So how does his agenda inform my agenda today?
—Howard Craig is the provincial assistant for Advancement on behalf of the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin provinces of the Society of Jesus.
Grant me, O Lord, to see everything now with new eyes, to discern and test the spirits that help me read the signs of the times, to relish the things that are yours, and to communicate them to others. Give me the clarity of understanding that you gave Ignatius.
—Pedro Arrupe, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!