Advent Week 3, Dec 16 2013
Read Isaiah 40:3-5 and Luke 4:16-19
Last week we noticed that “preparing the way of the Lord” means making “the rough places a plain” so that “all people shall see the glory of the Lord together.” Today’s reading from Matthew makes it clearer: the only way to really “prepare the way of the Lord” is to attend to the needs of others, not only through kindness to individuals but also by rejecting, and speaking out against injustice.
James Carroll’s column goes on to say:
“God is radically identified with the outcast…. Jesus was a nobody. That fact… is the fact of history that counts. For believers it defines an essential note of who God is.”( The Boston Globe, December 19, 1995)
Oh, you mean those nobodies! The nobodies who are outcast, dirty and smelly? The nobodies who are poor and panhandling on the street? The nobodies who have lost any real vision they ever had because they are captive to depression or to alcohol, or to drugs? The nobodies who are hopeless — who are unacceptable to “polite society” like me? Yes, those nobodies!
But early on Jesus stated his ministry, and God’s alliance, very clearly:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them,
“Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Meditate on what this difficult teaching means and what responsibility you believe God has for you.