Thursday after the Epiphany
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, welcome into the temple of my soul. I know that you will root up and tear down, heal and sanctify, making there a holy and righteous place that has always been intended for you. Only you have the power to unlock the sanctuary of my heart; only you build what will last forever. I trustfully open my entire self to you now, so that your words can shape my thoughts, so that your love can penetrate my heart, so that no disorder of soul may remain in me.
Petition: Lord, grant me a greater reverence for you.
1. He Returned in the Power of the Spirit: The Spirit appears in the world to unite heaven’s plan to that of earth, and it does so here with every move of Christ. Christ’s whole mission is nothing other than the fulfillment of the passage he reads. Our vocation in life is nothing other than fulfilling our baptismal commission by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord shows himself, therefore, to be no one-man show. He, the Son, is sent and works in communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and from here all his fruitfulness and power flows. Our mission must truly make us feel “sent.” It compels us to bear fruit through acts of obedience and love. Heaven seeks to deliver its plan to me in this prayer. May I be attentive to all that the Holy Spirit prompts me to do.
2. He Unrolled the Scroll… Today This Passage Is Fulfilled in Your Hearing: Man is given a response to the eternal question found in Revelation 5:2: “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” Contemplate this solemn moment when the Word reveals himself among men: Many could read from the scroll, but only one was worthy to unlock its salvific power. Many could recite the texts, but only one could set them ablaze in their hearts. Many could preach with fascination, but only one could satisfy their hunger for the fullness of truth. Our words are an empty breath without Christ’s voice; our labors are to no end, if our actions are not Christ’s. Only one person by right can change the human heart, and we in truth can only be apostles when Christ is the one who moves our hand.
3. All Were Amazed at the Words That Came from His Mouth: The precise nature of these words is not revealed to us here, as if to mean that the person of Christ himself is the revelation. Christ, in the totality of his person, comes to lighten our burdens and lift our spirits in a way no teaching, no miraculous event, no cure left to itself ever could. Divine providence has secured for us many goods in life, but all goods fail us if they do not come with Christ in all the power and intimacy that is God-among-us.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I seek to revere you and honor you as the center of my life. I work now with a holy ambition to ensure your throne is firmly established in my heart. Teach me to let nothing usurp what belongs to you in my life. Let me not build a life of empty self-sufficiency, lest I lose the experiences of your power and grace I could have.
Resolution: I will visit our Lord in the Eucharist today for the sake of honoring him for his greatness and thanking him for his active presence in my life.