If you recall in last week’s Gospel (on the celebration of the Feast of the Sto. Niño), after looking for three days, Mary and Joseph found Jesus sitting in the midst of teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. They were astonished and Mary said to him, “Son why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk. 2: 46 – 49)
Fast forward to this Sunday’s Gospel, which happened early in Jesus ministry; he taught in their synagogues where people were hungry for the message given to them. His preaching was so powerful that people praised him. In Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath Day as he usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written:
“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.”
He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Lk. 4: 16-21)
Today we are shown the continuation of Jesus focus on the business of the Father. Just like an individual or a company for that matter, his words are like a mission statement:
• The Spirit of the Lord has anointed him
• He is sent for the poor, the captives, the blind and the downtrodden
• To proclaim the Lord’s year of favor
While reading the scroll, Jesus was fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies of hope and expectations. The same Spirit that he promised the disciples that they would be “clothed with power from on high”, is the same Spirit that enabled him to act as he did at this “inauguration” of his public ministry. This is the same Spirit we receive at Baptism and Confirmation.
As recipients of these gifts, we have been challenged to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We have to learn to recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit, as it does not manifest itself like magic. It takes time, perseverance, patience, and most importantly the desire to pursue a truly spiritual path to holiness, in order for the gifts to reach their potential. Aside from that, we are also challenged to share and give the Spirit to others, especially the poor, the captives, the blind and the downtrodden.
Learning to live with the Holy Spirit begins with prayer. It is only by prayer that we can recognize and respond to the calling of the Holy Spirit. In this fast and hurried pace of our lives, let us therefore allow silence to envelope us. Our willingness to do that will allow the Holy Spirit to be heard — especially among the noise and clutter of our lives.