Thursday, September 22, 2016

Why Jesus Came

It is too easy to forget why Jesus came two thousand years ago. He didn’t come to write a new Liturgy, although the early Church did establish a way of worship that was unique as Christians. He didn’t come to teach us a new way to fast, although the early Church did establish a way of fasting that was unique as Christians. He didn’t come to force people to love each other, although the early Christians were known throughout the Roman Empire for the love they showed even to their enemies. So why did Jesus come? Consider today’s Gospel lesson...

Gospel Reading: Luke 4:16-22 (RSV) - At that time, Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.

If we could remember that Jesus came to free us and open our eyes to His plan for our salvation, it might just be a bit easier to embrace the way of life the Holy Apostles established for us over two thousand years ago. The next time you hear or read about prayer or fasting or almsgiving, or the next time you are told you should be in Church as often as you can be in Church, or the next time you think about how difficult it is to love your enemy, consider that each of these actions is given to us by the Church to assist us in our new-found freedom and open our eyes to the new life in Christ that we have received.

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