Today's readings can be found here.
The first reading from the book of Nehemiah details the Jewish tradition of reading from the sacred scripture. Upon hearing the sacred word of God, the people fall to the ground worshiping God and weeping. Ezra tells them to rejoice, to eat and drink and give to the poor. He tells them to celebrate the Holy Sabbath day and go forward with the Lord as their strength.
The Gospel parallels the event in the book of Nehemiah because Jesus returns to Galilee and reads from the sacred scripture. Jesus was inspired and led by the Spirit of God to proclaim from the prophet Isaiah. His authority is given by the Spirit and proclaimed to the assembly. He informs the synagogue that He is the one chosen by God, whom God's spirit is upon. He has come to proclaim liberty (to us), give sight to the blind (us), and free the captives (us again!).He takes hold of His position as the Messiah and informs the authorities that the time is now!
Next Sunday, when we gather to listen to the sacred scripture, as faithful people have done throughout time, we will hear what happens after Jesus' announcement. The people will scoff, refusing to believe that Joseph's son is the Son of God. They will drive Jesus out of the city, causing Jesus to say “no prophet is accepted in his own native place.”
If we were hearing the story of Jesus for the first time, we would again be on the edge of our seats. After this speech, Jesus cannot go back to his mother's house and work as a carpenter in obscurity anymore. He had even been driven out of his own home town. The Son of God, the Messiah, who comes to set the captives free, give sight to the blind and proclaim liberty has begun His work. Last week's passive Jesus at the wedding has stepped up to the plate. There is no turning back for Jesus now. Jesus has arrived!
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