Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

3rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME

Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21


THE GOSPEL TODAY features the return of Jesus to his native province, that is, Galilee. By that time, the Galileans must have already heard about his fame: his preaching, his healing of the sick, and his casting out of demons. Well, they must be proud of Him as a fellow Galilean. His return to his town Nazareth was unexpected. But people must have been excited to hear Him speak. The scene was a kind of dramatic. Reading a passage from the book of Isaiah, He then told the people, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Let us reflect on some of the important moments in the gospel.

Firstly, Jesus is the bearer of the Spirit. The gospel text says that Jesus returned to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit.” There is a significant role of the Spirit in the life of Jesus. Like, for example, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Then before He began his public ministry, He was driven by the Spirit to the desert. At his baptism, the Spirit was present in a form of a dove. Now, in his public ministry, the Spirit is all the more present. So, there is a linkage between Jesus and the Spirit. Elsewhere in the gospels, Jesus talks about his oneness with the Father. This gospel passage says about Jesus’ oneness with the Spirit.

How important is this to us? On the one hand, this passage helps us understand better our belief in one God: the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, this also leads us to realize that, like Jesus, we are a “Spirited-people.” Let us not forget the presence of the Spirit in our lives; let us allow Him to work in us, and we try to follow where He leads us.

Secondly, Jesus’ return to Galilee and Nazareth shows how important it is to link himself to His roots. Jesus remembers the place where He grew up. He must have remembered the things He used to do in that place. And one of these was to go to the synagogue and read a scripture passage.

In our life, homecoming is considered important. People who have a happy childhood would naturally love to “come home.” But for people who have sad memories during their childhood would not want to “come home.” However, our past, whether happy or sad, is part of our life. In the road toward wholeness, the recommendation is to always go back to our roots.

Thirdly, after reading a passage from the book of the prophet Isaiah, Jesus declares, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” He declares himself as the expected Messiah who fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah. This can be also considered as the call to mission because of the “bringing of glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind….”

We can relate this to our baptismal and confirmation promises. When we received these two sacraments of initiation, we have become missionaries because we are called to bring good news to others. The bringing or sharing of good news to others is part of our Christian responsibility. That is why we have been called to be expressive of our faith by fulfilling the sacramental promises. AMEN.


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