Nehemiah 8, 2-4, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19, 18.104.22.168; 1 Corinthians 12, 12-30; St. Luke 1, 1-4; 4, 14-21
Nehemiah reads out the law and the people fall down in worship before these "ten words" of the Divine Lawgiver. The Lord proclaims the words of Isaiah and reveals that they point to Him, the Word Incarnate. Do we rejoice that the day of the Lord has arrived? How do we worship the One who is now truly present among us?
The Lord knows who he is, not simply because as a good Jew he reads Isaiah, but with every fiber of his divine Personhood: he is the God-man, the divine Messiah foretold and exalted by the holy prophets. The Lord reads the words of Isaiah to the assembly in the synagogue with the purpose of declaring the truth of his divinity to the whole world: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." (Lk 4: 21)
The Messiah's characteristics are revealed above all in the "Servant songs." (Cf. Isa 42: 1-9; cf. Mt 12:18-21; Jn 1:32-34; then cf. Isa 49: 1-6; cf. Mt 3:17; Lk 2:32; finally cf. Isa 50:4-10 and Isa 52: 13- 53: 12.) These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus' Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our "form as slave." (Phil 2:7) Taking our death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life. (CCC 713)
This is why Christ inaugurates the proclamation of the Good News by making his own the following passage from Isaiah: (Isa 61: 1-2; cf. Lk 4: 18-19)
The anointing by which Christ brings "good tidings", binds up the "brokenhearted", and frees those imprisoned is carried out in our midst, at this moment, only in the Holy Spirit, poured out upon us by the Lord-Messiah according to the heavenly Father's loving plan for our redemption. Only in that Spirit of love can we call out to Christ as Lord in faith. Only in that Spirit do we receive and give authentic love.
The prophetic texts that directly concern the sending of the Holy Spirit are oracles by which God speaks to the heart of his people in the language of the promise, with the accents of "love and fidelity." (Cf. Ezek 11:19; 36: 25-28; 37: 1-14; Jer 31:31-34; and cf. Joel 3: 1-5.) St. Peter will proclaim their fulfillment on the morning of Pentecost. (Cf. Acts 2: 17-21) According to these promises, at the "end time" the Lord's Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace. (CCC 715)
We live out our love for the Lord when we confidently declare that he is Lord and God to all we meet. Others will know we love them if we declare the divinity of the Savior, he who alone can forgive our sins, heal us and raise us up to holiness and joy.
Let's pray for each other until, again next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick
(See also nos. 436, 544, 695, 714, 1168, 1286, 2443 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (Publish with permission.)
Art: Illuminated Gospel, Unknown, Anglo-Saxon, possibly Canterbury, about 1000.