3 Epiphany – Year C

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a; Luke 4:14-21

“It’s funny to us as we’re so used to worms and viruses being bad news rather than making the world a better place.” – Graham Cluley

                The hometown boy is back again in Nazareth with all the folks who knew him as a baby, a little kid and as a teenager.  He gets up in the familiar synagogue and reads from the Prophet Isaiah (Luke 4:17-19).  He then applies the Isaiah message to himself.  Therefore, he is saying that he himself has been anointed to bring good news.  So have we.  In many Christian traditions people are anointed at Baptism and Confirmation.  We are even anointed when we receive the Sacrament of the Sick.  This is no longer called “Last Rites” since we are anointed for healing in order to carry on our Christian lives, not necessarily for its termination.  The anointing, according to the definition of a sacrament, is an outward sign of an inward grace.  Even those traditions that do not anoint still have the inward grace.  Therefore, physically anointed or not, the Spirit of the Lord is upon us all to bring good news.  Looking at the examples in the Isaiah reading that Jesus refers to, imagine the intensity of the good news to hear that you are no longer poor, no longer a captive, no longer blind, no longer oppressed (see Greek below).  Any of us would know that this is indeed the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:19).  Imagine some modern examples: we are no longer unemployed, we no longer have cancer, the child at risk in the pregnant womb is born safely and named after you, the farmer in drought walks in the rain wet by the downpour and by his joyful tears.  What good news!  But we might say we cannot perform miracles.  However, as individuals we can indeed do much.  Remember the Spirit of God is upon us.  Only if we think we are alone, an extreme individualism, are we limited.   Collectively we can also do what will seem like miracles.  The Spirit of God gives us vision to see solutions even in destructive things.  Graham Cluley in the above quote is speaking of worms and viruses that destroy computers.  He has been able to use worms and viruses for security.  He turned around the evil into good to make the world a better place.  Good cyber news!  We as individuals and as people together, with the Spirit of God upon us, spiritually anointing us, can turn anything around into good news.  God has never stopped working miracles through us.

Greek

                Luke 4:18 refers to the “oppressed” going free.  Literally, the Greek word means those “broken into pieces.”  In a figurative sense, the oppression referred to might mean “broken in spirit.”  When we have emotionally been broken into pieces we hear good news.

Haiku

In this world broken

anointed all pick up pieces.

Good news spread about.