Twenty Second Week in Ordinary Time (Year C, Cycle I)

Monday 2 September

1 Thessalonians 4.13-18 

Psalm 95.1 and 3, 4-5, 11-12, 13; Luke 4.16-30

Today’s Gospel is a key passage describing Jesus’ mission and by implication that of his followers. It has been aptly called the Nazareth Manifesto. Placing it in its literary context, we hear that Jesus has just been tempted by the Devil and as we are told ‘filled with the Spirit, returned to Galilee’ (Lk 4.14). Appropriately Jesus begins his ministry in his home town. His first audience comprises first century Jews. They were the Anawim or Pto-choi, oppressed politically, exploited economically, marginalised sociologically, despised culturally and condemned religiously, to whom Jesus directed his liberative message. Steeped in the Hebrew Scriptures, Jesus quotes Isaiah 61. Instead of saying ‘to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God’ Jesus leaves out the rather ethnocentric and offensive phrase ‘and the day of vengeance of our God.’ He thereby shows the universality of his mission. For me, this Gospel challenges those who argue that politics and the Bible do not mix. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, ‘Those who say politics and the Bible do not mix, I do not know what Bible they are reading.’ The Bible and the Good News challenge society. The preacher is like a prophet sent to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable but alas some instead comfort the comfortable and disturb the disturbed.

 

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