Posted by: fvbcdm | January 10, 2013

Feast of Saint William of Bourges (10 Jan 2013)

In the gospel of today’s Mass, we have a remarkably detailed bit of narrative on the part of Saint Luke. And the reason why he goes into such detail is because he realizes the extreme importance of the moment that he is recounting. Jesus has returned to Galilee, and to his own home town of Nazareth. It is the sabbath—either Friday night or Saturday morning. Our Lord goes to the synagogue to worship his heavenly Father and to pray, as every observant Jew does. When the synagogue official catches sight of Jesus, he is pleased that their native son is back with them, since they have heard good things about his works and actions down in Judea, and also because he knows that Jesus can read. Not everyone could read in those days, but any man who was literate was eligible to be asked to read from the Scriptures in the synagogue.

Jesus stands up in the front of the room, and is handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Now the scrolls consisted of two rollers that looked rather like our rolling pins. A long strip of vellum or papyrus was attached, one end on one roller and the other end on the other roller, so that the reader laid the two rolls and the writing material between them on a table, unrolled them to the place that he wanted, and read. This Our Lord did. He found the passage in which Isaiah says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor” and the following verses. Then Saint Luke tells us very carefully that Jesus then rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. He would probably have sat in a chair at the table where the scrolls were, in case he should want to refer to the scrolls again. And the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. And he said to them, “Today, this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” In other words, today the person of whom Isaiah is speaking is here in your presence. And in fact, it is I. I am the anointed one; I am the Messiah, the Hebrew word for ‘anointed.’”

The Hebrew word was “Messiah”; it was translated into Greek as “Christos,” which also means “anointed.” Then it went into Latin as “Christus.” And it comes to us as “Christ.” Jesus Christ means Jesus the Anointed One. Later on, Saint Peter would say to Our Lord, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And Jesus would reply, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of John, for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father in Heaven.” Jesus doesn’t appear any different from any other young man of his time, place, and age. But when we look at him with the eyes of faith, we see the promised savior, the anointed son of David, the redeemer, the Christ. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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