TODAY'S gospel follows the baptism of Jesus and his victory over temptation by the devil as he fasted for 40 days in the desert. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he started his ministry in Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and preaching the message of repentance.
From Galilee, he proceeded to Nazareth where he has been raised up as a child. Again, in a synagogue, he opened the Scriptures in the 61st chapter of Isaiah and read, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed and announce that the time has come when the Lord will save his people." Then rolling up the scroll he said, "Today, this passage of the scripture has come true as you heard it being read."
What is the significance of this gospel? Other than a part a part of the series of events ushering in Jesus' public life, it reveals who Jesus really is. He makes himself known as the Son of God - the Savior promised by the Father as foretold by the prophets.
By coming to our humanity, we as captives are set free - free from the bondage of sin, the slavery by the devil, and all the hardships and misery brought about by man's separation from the love of God.
By coming to our humanity, we who are blind are given back our sight. Blinded by sin, deception, corruption and the false attractions of this world, we failed to see what counts most in life - our preparation for eternal salvation in heaven with God and his saints. His coming opens our eyes - physically and spiritually - to see Jesus as our All - Savior, Redeemer, Healer, Provider, Comforter, Counselor, Protector.
By coming to our humanity, we are set free from oppression. We are transformed from senseless minions of the devil to sons and daughters of the living God, from losers of this earth to victors of this world and beyond, and from people at the risk of perpetual doom in hell to a community of believers waiting for the eternal joys of heaven.
Jesus, truly God, became truly man. Once in history, he set foot on this earth and took part in our human experience. He came to preach the Good News, forgive sinners, heal the sick and provide a living testimony of the Father's love for mankind. Just as he came around 2,000 years ago, he continues to come everyday, knocking at our hearts. "Here I am," he said, "I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in...." (Revelations 3:20).