16bJesus stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 

18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ 

Good news for the poor, release for the captives, sight for the blind, freedom for the oppressed – who wouldn’t want to sign up for this program? It sounds like a perfect world. And, no doubt Jesus longed for such a world and intended that those who committed themselves to his teachings might work to build a world of good news, release, sight and freedom.

But, perhaps this proclamation is not only for the obviously poor, captive, blind, and imprisoned.  Perhaps it is also for me.

I am poor. At times I am almost overwhelmed by my poverty, my powerlessness, my inability to be the person I long to be. There are times I am held captive to a self I know is much smaller than my true luminous self that is created in the image of God. There are times I am petty, dishonest, and violent.

It is hard for me to see clearly; it is difficult to have my eyes fully open to reality. Certainly, at times I am oppressed, overwhelmed by the suffering I see around me, undone by the paralysis in my own life.

I long to hear good news of release, sight, and freedom.

I wonder what obstacles I place in the way of my heart opening deeply and fully to this powerful and beautiful proclamation Jesus brought. I know that, when I truly hear these words of good news, release, sight and freedom, they have the power to produce in my life, that which they proclaim.

Lord, help me to hear your words of truth deep in my heart.