Thursday, January 7 ~ Season of Christmas
Saint Raymond of Penafort, Priest
Holy Gospel: Luke 4:14-22 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. 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.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
Meditation: In and through Jesus Christ we see the grace of God in action. His gracious words brought hope, joy, and favor to those who were ready to receive him. Where did Jesus began his public ministry? In his own land of Galilee where he was reared from his youth in Nazareth. His proclamation of the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah brought wonder to his kin and townsfolk. Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to those oppressed by sin and evil (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus awakened their hope in the promises of God. They, in turn, received his words favorably and wondered what would become of “Joseph’s son”. Their hearts were hungry for the word of life and they looked to Jesus with anticipation and wonder. Do you look to Jesus with confidence and hope in the fulfillment of all God’s promises?
Prayer: O God, who adorned the Priest Saint Raymond with the virtue of outstanding mercy and compassion for sinners and for captives, grant us, through his intercession, that, released from slavery to sin, we may carry out in freedom of spirit what is pleasing to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: What did Jesus come to do for us? He came to set us free from the worst tyranny possible – slavery to sin and the fear of death, and the eternal destruction of both body and soul. God’s power alone can save us from emptiness and poverty of spirit, from confusion and error, and from hopelessness and the fear of annihilation. The gospel of salvation is “good news” for us today. Do you know the joy and freedom of the gospel? Really know true joy and true freedom of the gospel? As we begin a New Year, embrace the gospel and experience this true joy and freedom.