Salvation is Not an Addiction nor Dream

Weekly Missionary Reflection
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 24 January 2022
Sunday of the Word of God

Neh. 8:3-5a,6-7,9-11; Ps. 19:8,9,10,15; 1Cor. 12:12-30 (long) atau 1Cor. 12:12-14,27 (short); Luk. 1:1-4; 4:14-21

The Gospel of Luke is often called the preacher’s gospel. Luke presents Jesus as the model for those who preach and proclaim the Gospel. Jesus’ work is begun with a summary: “Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone” (v. 14-15). Jesus is a traveling preacher and teacher in Galilee. His preaching is moved by the Spirit of God and praised by humans. What is the characteristic of Jesus’ preaching?

First, His preaching is moved by the Holy Spirit. Luke puts a great emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit in the life and work of Jesus and in the proclamation of the Church (cf. Acts). Jesus had been filled with Holy Spirit ever since He was conceived (1:35) and when He was baptized (3:22). Full of the Holy Spirit, He went to the wilderness to defeat the Devil (4:1) and then returned to begin His teaching (4:14). The main gift of the Holy Spirit to Jesus and to the Church is the gift for teaching, preaching, and testifying. In this way, Jesus and the Church continue the work of the Spirit of God to the prophets in OT (cf. as in Isa. 61:1, etc). The Holy Spirit ensures the continuity of the preaching of good news, which was proclaimed by the prophets, presented and enacted by Jesus, and continued by all the preachers in the Church, including you and me.

Second, Jesus’ preaching gives priority to the poor and marginalized. The  Gospel is “good news to the poor” (v. 18). This good news is not a theory or nonsense, but indeed a real and concrete one: freeing the captives, healing the blind, liberating the oppressed, and proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor. Jesus revives the ideal of the Jubilee Year which supposedly remains ideal yet no more practiced. In the context of occupied and suffering Palestine, the ideals of the Jubilee Year (field rest for a year, slaves freed, debt waived, land returned to the original owners, cf. Lev. 25:8–55) must be revived. The gospel has to reorganize the unbalanced and unequal order of society. Our proclamation should always aim at liberating all humankind from any form of imprisonment, oppression, and impoverishment.

Third, Jesus’ preaching sets free to those who are really listening. After reading the Isaian quote, Jesus began His teaching with a surprising sentence: Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing (v. 21). “In your hearing” means a condition: Isaiah’s prophecy will only be fulfilled for those who truly listen (obey to) the preaching of Jesus. The “future” in the preaching of the Prophets is now changed into “today” by Jesus. Jesus makes salvation present. The liberating message of the Gospel should hit and be felt by all humankind now and here. Do not let the message of salvation become an addiction and drug that lure dreams. This is very important, as we are living in the world of wealth chasing and race for the throne. It often happens that “heaven” is just merchandise of the usury hunters and power adventurers. Often, “heaven” is just a hoax of the money-lover preachers.

(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of Indonesian Church of this month:

For Universal Churches: True fraternity
We pray for those suffering from religious bullying and discrimination; may their right and dignity be honored for we are truly all brothers and sisters as human beings. We pray…

For Indonesian Churches intention: Warding off the hoax
In the midst of unclear information, gossip, and hoax which easily attract our emotion, may we be able to respond to it with peaceful heart and common sense. We pray…

Amen

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