Who Is Standing Up To Proclaim “Good News”
Who is standing up to read the scroll today? (Luke 4:16ff)
Standing up in our world today
Luke 4:16 is fresh in my mind from celebrating the day when St. Vincent was inspired to gather a group of like-minded people around him to share in his understanding of Christ’s mission.
Jesus 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 captive and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
As I was reflecting on Jesus “mission statement” in the Gospel of Luke 4:16 I thought of the four men currently in our novitiate or Internal Seminary. Noe Garcia, Milton Lara, Wilber Mejia, and Jose Alexander Palacios have stepped forward to prepare themselves to do what Jesus did… pick up the scroll and commit to proclaiming the Good News of God’s love for all, especially those on the margin.
I am grateful for them standing up in our day as Jesus had done in his day. They are a reminder that each of us following Christ the Evangelizer of the Poor are called to stand up in a world desperately longing for God News.
Vincent’s way of reading the scriptures
This experience reminded me of something I had written earlier…
Vincent not only studied the scripture, he seemed to live and breathe the scriptures, especially the Gospels. He allowed the scriptures to shape the way he interpreted his life. It was as if he were reading the book of the events of his life in one hand and the scriptures in the other hand.
I realized that the times the scriptures seem most alive to me are when I see myself in the stories recounted. Of course… I always identify with the “good guys” and am surprised at how slow-witted the “bad guys” are. I surely would have recognized the young couple knocking at the door as Mary and Joseph. Oh yeah!
At one level it is easy and even somewhat glorious to place myself on the pages of scripture. It is an exercise of imagination especially when I identify with the hero. But that is not the whole story.
Reimagining myself standing up saying “This day…”
Many years ago I was handed a card that read. “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” This is certainly a thought-provoking and a soul-searching question as evidenced by my recalling it so many years later.
So it is with reading Luke 4:14. I realize I figuratively stood up in the church of my day when I committed myself in the Congregation of the MISSION. I committed myself to a mission of bringing good news to the poor and marginalized. Now more than 60 years later I cannot say “mission accomplished,” but I am happy to have had a part in that mission as have so many others in the Vincentian Family.
The gospel is an occasion to celebrate Jesus’ accepting the mission from his Father. The passage from Luke is also a challenge to ask myself how much evidence is there that I am working toward the completion of the mission I have committed myself to.
Questions about our mission
- Do I look for myself in the pages of scripture?
- How conscious am I of the mission and meaning of my life?
- How consistent are my actions with the overarching mission that Jesus entrusted to each of us?
Just this week Pope Francis wrote once again that the world needs Catholics who go out and proclaim Jesus.