In a lost hamlet of Galilee called Nazareth, the neighbors of this village got together in the synagogue one Sabbath morning to listen to God’s Word. After some years spent in the desert seeking God, Jesus returns to the village where he had been reared.
The scene is very important to get to know Jesus and understand well his mission. According to Luke’s account, in this hamlet almost unknown by everyone, Jesus is going to present himself as a Prophet of God and is going to expound his program, applying to himself a text of the prophet Isaiah.
After reading the passage, Jesus comments on it with just one phrase: «Today this Scripture which you’ve just heard is being fulfilled». According to Luke, the people «had their eyes fixed on him». Everyone’s attention passed from the read text to the person of Jesus. What is it that we can discover today if we fix our eyes on him?
Jesus does this, moved by God’s Spirit. Jesus’ entire life is driven, conducted and guided by the breath, the power and the love of God. To believe in Jesus’ divinity isn’t to theoretically confess a dogmatic formula elaborated by councils. It is to go about discovering concretely in his words and his actions, in his tenderness and in his fire, the ultimate Mystery of life that we believers call «God».
Jesus is God’s Prophet. He hasn’t been anointed with olive oil as they anointed kings to transmit to them the power of the government, or the high priests to invest them with sacred power. He has been «anointed» by the Spirit of God. He doesn’t come to govern or to reign. He’s God’s prophet dedicated to free our life. We can only follow him if we learn to live with his prophetic spirit.
Jesus is Good News for the poor. All he does is Good News for the social class most marginalized and unvalued: the ones most in need of hearing something good, those humiliated and forgotten by everyone. We begin to look like Jesus when our life, our way of acting and our loving solidarity can be captured by the poor as something good.
Jesus is dedicated to liberate. He gives of himself to free human beings from all class of slavery. People feel him as the liberator of suffering, oppression and abuse; the blind see him as light that frees from senselessness and hopelessness; sinners receive him as grace and forgiveness. We follow Jesus when we go about freeing everyone from whatever enslaves us, lessens us, dehumanizes us. Then we believe in him as the Savior who sets us on the right road toward the definitive Life.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf