During the week, not that I really liked to, but I happened to watch bits of the inaugural speech of President Barack Obama. I couldn’t help it because it had been shown in the news around the country. I heard him saying as he sworn in ‘so help me God.’ It was a simple yet a beautiful short prayer. And upon hearing that I silently prayed that Obama really meant what he said then: that He would acknowledge God’s help in his role as the president of the United States.
Friends, I’m caught up with this because truly, we need God in our life. We need to complement with what God wills for us and what He wants of us. We need God no matter how much we deny his involvement in our life. We need God to put our lives into order and into perspective.
This is what Jesus is showing us in our gospel today. As he outlined his policies, he acknowledged that he is to do that through the Spirit of God being given to him. So this means he relied on God in everything he does, and in everything he is. In a way, Jesus is showing us today the real example of how to live out our Christian discipleship.
First, he stood up for who he is and what he is called to do. He acknowledged that he is the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah. He couldn’t care less of what people, his own folks included, would think of him. He stood true to himself and to his mission. So also are we if we take our being a Christian seriously. It might be a hard, a challenging and a tough call, yet we have to be like Christ to others. Like Jesus Christ, we must stand up for who we really are and what God has called to be and do. This is what the tens of thousands Americans who joined in the March for life in Washington DC last Friday, the 25th of January have shown. According to some observers: “The event comes on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court decision that made it a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy under some circumstances. Despite freezing temperatures the turnout was huge, highlighting the sensitivity of the issue for the nation.”(http://rt.com/usa/news/anti-abortion-march-washington-777/
This is a concrete example of standing up for God and for Christ. Pope Benedict also expressed his support for this great activity when he posted a short message on Twitter on the same day. The Pope wrote: “I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life.” They stood up to uphold the truth. They stood up for Christ and for his Church, and so are we.
Second, Jesus lived out his life as the bearer of Good News. In our gospel today, he stands as the Good News for the poor. And we could see in his whole life how he lived out this vocation. This is what he came for. He came to be Good News to the poor. He came to proclaim liberty to the captives. He came to give light to the blind. He came to set free the downtrodden. He came to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour. We as a Church, are also called to share in this mission of Christ. We are called to be Good News to others. We as “the Church,” Father Francis Moloney, a Salesian priest wrote, “must be good news to all people, but especially to those who are broken in many different ways. [And] this is not something which we, as members of the Church, may or may not choose to do.’ So in a way, our mission to bring good news to others especially to the poor, is essential in our Christian life. No if’s no buts.
But who are the poor?’ we might ask.
Fr Flor McCarthy another Salesian Priest, would help us reflect on some answers of this question. McCarthy wrote:
The poor are the hungry and the thirsty. The poor are those who go about in rags. The poor are the homeless. The poor are the sick.The poor are the physically and mentally handicapped. The poor are the old. The poor are the imprisoned. The poor are the sad and depressed. The poor are those who suffer injustice. The poor are the unemployed and those on low wages. The poor are the rejects and unwanted.The poor are the lonely and the unloved. The poor are the alcoholics and drug addict. The poor are those who live on bread alone and who never hear the Word of God. The poor are those with hearts of flesh but who do not love. The poor, in one way or another, are we ourselves.Before God, we all are poor. May we never see poverty as a curse from God. Rather, may we know that when we are poor. The kingdom of Heaven is ours.
Third, Jesus always puts God in the picture of his life. So also we are we. Whatever we do, would only reach its perfection and fulfilment in God. We can’t take God out of the picture. Our life would only have meaning if God is in there not only because our life is given by him but because he is our life himself.
But it’s also true, there are many who would try to compartmentalize God, or put God on the corner. No wonder there are among others, such greed, injustices, selfishness, and violence in the world today. No wonder there are people who would say with pride they don’t need the Church to be a people of faith. These are just few of the many examples of those who forced themselves to believe that they can live apart or even without God.
The beauty if we acknowledge God in our life and welcome him as part of our life day by day, moment by moment, is that we come to appreciate the many gifts God has given unto us everyday. We also come to realize the abundance and the varieties of gifts each one has that would make up a whole and more alive body of Christ if we listen to St Paul today in our Second Reading. Having God in the picture of our life always allows us, empowers us and even motivates us to go on with life with all its joys and sorrows, with all its ups and downs and with all its challenges and trials.
So as we continue our Eucharistic celebration today, let us ask ourselves: How am I in my mission to be the bearer of Good News of God for others? Are we on the truth? How real, alive and true Christ is in our life and in our day to day living?