whenever we go to a website of an organization or company, a mission statement is listed in a prominent place. it tells the world who the group is and why they exist. what if our faith had a “mission statement”?
the declaration of mission also helps the organization remember who they are and what they ought to do. if an organization’s eyes are not fixed on its mission, there is “mission drift.” being refocused on the true mission needs to be renewed when these drifts inevitable occur.
in today’s gospel (luke 1: 1-4; 4: 14-21), jesus’ quotes the prophet isaiah:
“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.“
jesus is telling us who he is and why he came: he is the anointed one and he brings healing to the world. in our human condition, we live are spiritually and materially poor. we are captive to ourselves and other forces. we are blinded by all sorts of distractions and false gods. we are oppressed by systems of selfishness, greed and pride. jesus came to bring us healing in our human condition.
where is healing in our lives needed? do we drift away from healing and further into hurting ourselves and others?
this is the salvation that jesus has brought to the course of humanity and to each of us.
jesus comes “to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” this is a reference to the jubilee year that happened every 50 years. debts were forgiven, slaves were freed and a fresh beginning was had by all. can we even imagine a world where this type of lived freedom were to happen?
if we dare follow jesus, then we are grafted into his mission. jesus can proclaim this vision for humanity because of his anointing as the son of God in his baptism. we are share this anointing in our baptism. we are graced with this gift and are given the graces to share it. we are instruments to others of God’s healing, richness, freedom, enlightenment and joy.
if there were a word to define this divine healing it would be love.
so today, we are renewed in this love of God– especially in the eucharist– and return to the mission of jesus if we have drifted on different paths lately.
we give thanks to God for this fulfillment of love; we give thanks to the Spirit who continues to lead and guide us in this mission.
let us pray
whose compassion embraces all peoples,
whose law is wisdom, freedom, and joy for the poor,
fulfill in our midst your promise of favor,
that we may receive the gospel of salvation with faith
and, anointed by the Spirit, freely proclaim it.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
(Alternative Opening Prayer from 1998 ICEL Missal)