The Good News Liberates Us
Rdgs: 1st: Neh 8:2-6.8-10; Ps: 18; 2nd: I Cor 12:12-14.27; Gos: Lk 1:1-4.4:14-21
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, the third Sunday of ordinary time, we rejoice in the Good News of Salvation which Christ brings to us. This Good News binds us together as the people of God and enables us to work together for God’s kingdom.
In our first reading, after the people had worked together to achieve their goal and freedom, Nehemiah gathered them, and read the good news to them. After listening and meditating on the word of God, the people echoed “Amen!”
In our second reading, through his letter to the Corinthians, Paul encourages us to remain united and work together as one body of Christ. To achieve this goal, everyone must be considered important. There must be reconciliation, understanding, sincerity and mutual respect for one another.
In today’s gospel, Luke narrates his own “solid and ordered account” of the events about Christ. His audience is “Theophilus.” This Greek name simply means “lover or seeker of God.” Historically speaking, it is popularly believed that Theophilus simply refers to all who love or seek God. Therefore, this good news is for all of us who sincerely love God.
Today, Jesus presents his mission. This is, the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor…” This prophecy was made when the Israelites lived in slavery and misery in exile.
So, by using these same words as the basis of his ministry and mission, Christ announced His reign of peace, justice, freedom and love to all those suffering from all kinds of oppressions and injustice.
Like Nehemiah in our first reading, Christ proclaims the good news of the new era to all of us. It is important to note that this good news is not directed only to the materially poor, but to all: “the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God” (Mt 5:3).
The good news liberates us from two types of slavery. The first is self-imposed slavery. This results from personal sins and mistakes in life. This makes us, spiritually blind and weak. It cripples our spiritual life, and hardens our hearts against God and all that is good.
This is the worst form of slavery, because it affects us both spiritually and physically. Only Christ can liberate us from this slavery. We can achieve this liberation by accepting the good news, and by seeking reconciliation with Christ and ourselves.
The other type of slavery is that which is imposed on us by others or society. These include structural, economic, and social injustices that do not allow us to live a fulfilled life in this world, even when we make all the necessary efforts.
Both of these are great sources of pains and burden to us. However, it is important to note that Christ strengthens to overcome all. So, with the psalmist today, let us exalt the Lord: “Your words are spirit, Lord; they give life.”
Peace be with you!