As we approach Christmas, the liturgy reminds us about the characteristics of this Messianic times.  The first reading gives us the text of the prophet Isaiah that Jesus read in the synagogue and proclaimed that these prophesies are fulfilled in him.

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me;

he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners,

to announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God.

Jesus, anointed by the Spirit, brings good news to the poor. Everything he proclaims is good news. In the words of Isaiah the prophet, each one of the actions described is the solution to their difficulties: liberty to captives, heal to the brokenhearted… Jesus presence and mission in this world is precisely that: to fulfill what nature or human beings are not able to do.

The question always was who is the poor, the captive, the prisoner, the brokenhearted? This had a material and physical meaning. Some people in the times of Jesus focused on the material part of this, when the truth is we should focus on both aspects.

The message and the mission of the Messiah has this doable aspect: material and spiritual. We should work on one without neglecting the other. Anyone who accepts him, has freedom in him and through him. Of course, we are talking here about spiritual freedom.  But those who are free in Christ understand also the injustice of slavery and poverty, and as a consequence, we understand that it is our duty as a Church to do what is in our hand, for the poor, the captive, the prisoner, the brokenhearted. Having been liberated by Him, we work as witnesses in this world of his freedom and love. Because of him, we should become the hands of God in this world.

The good news of salvation was not only for the time of the Messiah. It is also in our time, specially in this period of preparation for Christmas when we are receiving Jesus in the world as the one who brings the good news of salvation to the poor, the captive, the prisoners. We should remember that the gospel is not something merely interior, but that should touch the society in which we live. We need to pray and work that Jesus and his teachings of justice and love will be born, and grow in our society.

 

Fr. Sergio