LK 1:1-4, 4:14-21


fr tam nguyen’s photo


A poor woman who was a wife to a farmer and mother to their children was suddenly stricken with a debilitating sinus cancer that slowly ate parts of her once radiant face. Due to lack of money for medicines and medical consultation, the condition of the woman steadily weakened and her sickness progressed.


It was then that a group of nuns learned about her condition. They started to visit her to pray with her and the family. They supported her with whatever material resources they could bring. Most importantly, the Sisters brought the sick woman and the family the Good News of Jesus in action.


After all the Christmas feasts and last week’s Santo Niño celebrations, we now enter again into ordinary time with St. Luke as our guide. The uniqueness of Luke’s approach is that he tells the story of Jesus in a different light. Jesus, in St. Luke has a truly human face, a compassionate mien, a merciful glance, and a great desire to touch the suffering, help the poor, and embrace the excluded.


Our Gospel today describes the Lord Jesus in the words of the prophet Isaiah as One full of the Spirit, intimate with the Spirit of God because he possesses the power of God. And yet, he does not wield this power to conquer and dominate hearts. Rather, he sees his power as a liberating force that will change the lives of the poor, the captives, the blind and the oppressed. Jesus comes to proclaim a jubilee, a year of grace, a cause for joy, a time of freedom sin and rebelliousness of hearts.


We are all invited now to get to know this Jesus again. Once we know him, we will be able to open our hearts, follow in his steps, and offer all our lives to him. This intimacy with Jesus is not a private relationship – you and me alone – but carries with it a mission to continue what he has started. Thus one who knows the merciful Jesus proclaims him to others by word and deed.


How are we to know the Lord more so as to imitate him? It starts with the same gesture Jesus did in today’s gospel. He read the Scriptures. Why don’t you start reading the Bible, just a chapter or so each day perhaps. You may follow an online Bible reading plan or join a Catholic Bible study group or even subscribe to a podcast on the Bible. May this year with St. Luke intensify our desire to know and love the Lord and to shout the Gospel with our lives, as Blessed Charles de Foucauld puts it.