Monthly Scripture Reflection

“Your light has come.”
Isaiah 60:1

Can’t you just see the Israelites, weary from their long years of exile, coming to life at the words of the Prophet Isaiah?! “Raise your eyes and look about.” “Your heart shall throb . . .  for the riches of the sea . . . the wealth of nations brought to you.” Looking around is good advice for us, too, in this January of a new year. What will we see? How will we recognize the riches we have?

First of all, in St. Luke’s Gospel we see Mary, Mother of God, after the shepherds’ visit, “reflecting in her heart” all that had happened. We see the shepherds “glorifying and praising God” that what had been told to them by an angel really was. Then St. Matthew, in his Gospel, lets us see the arrival of the Magi, scholars from afar, determined to confirm the truth of their findings about a newborn king. Again it was as they had been told, and they responded with suitable homage, gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Trust)

Secondly, we are introduced to the adult Jesus. St. Luke’s Gospel cites the transition from St. John, who baptizes with water but points out Jesus, who will baptize “with the Holy Spirit.” (Hope) Then St. John’s Gospel brings us to the wedding at Cana, where the first disciples “began to believe.”  Luke puts it all together at the beginning of his Gospel where he makes the case that what he is writing about he obtained from “eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word [who] handed them down to us.” He explains that he is putting it “in orderly sequence . . . so [we] realize the certainty.” (Faith)

That is a capsule of early events recorded in this month’s Gospels. St. Paul in the Epistles explains the why. “God sent his Son” to “ransom” us, that we might receive adoption as sons.” “Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, copartners in the promises of Christ Jesus.” To Titus he speaks of the grace of God “saving all,” choosing “a people of his own, eager to do what is good.” Therefore “live temperately, justly, and devoutly,” becoming “heirs in hope of eternal glory.” In Corinthians we hear of all the different spiritual gifts the Spirit bestows so we can become the Body of Christ. (Knowledge)

And all along the prophets are encouraging us. Isaiah says, “Comfort my people.” “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed.” “Go up on a high mountain . . . cry out the good news.” “The Lord delights in you.” “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock.” Nehemiah tells how the priest-scribe Ezra explained the Law, and the people “bowed down” and answered “Amen.” Ezra continued, “Today is holy to the Lord your God.” “Rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength.” And Numbers formulated the blessing to be given: “The Lord bless you . . . keep you . . . his face shine upon you . . . be gracious to you.” “The Lord look upon you and give you peace.” (Acceptance)

So what do we do with all the graces showered upon us? Jesus stood up in the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth and read from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to bring glad tidings to the poor. . . proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and let the oppressed go free.” As followers of Jesus, how do we, in this day and age, carry on his work? How can we, like him,

“Proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
Luke 11:4 -20