Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
There are so many thoughts offered us in the readings of today’s Mass. Let’s start with the responsorial psalm, the Magnifact, Mary’s beautiful prayer of thanksgiving in which she rejoices that God has looked favorably on lowliness. In all humility Mary proclaims, “He who is mighty has done great things for me, holy is His name. Henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” Think on this, each one of us here can say these words of Mary about ourselves. We may be burdened by our own sense of unworthiness, maybe we think only of our faults and failings, we may wonder if we really are living as Christ would have us live, but the truth of the matter is each of us here can say of ourselves, “He who is mighty has done great things for me.” Before the world began God chose us to be His adopted sons and daughters. He who is mighty has done great things for us.
Each one of us can echo the words of Isaiah; we can make his words our own because when we were baptized and the Spirit of God was poured into our hearts giving us the power and the boldness to call God, Father. That same Spirit is always with us touching our lives in so many different ways by the Spirit’s gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge and counsel, fortitude, piety and awe. Like Isaiah we can greatly rejoice in the Lord because he knew God’s Spirit was always with him as he faced opposition and hostility as he tried to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor. That same Spirit is with us as we face the joys and sorrows of our own lives. St. Paul tells us not to quench that Spirit but be open to it as the Spirit seeks to guide us and help us hold fast to all that is good.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon us, he has anointed us, he has sent us to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and release to prisoners and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. We bring the good news of God’s love to others as we try, every day of our lives, to live the great commandment; “love one another as I have loved you.” We bring good news as we try to show the love of Christ for others when we reach out in any way to men, women and children less fortunate than ourselves, especially during this season of Christmas. We bring good news when we respect the faith and cultures of other people. We bring good news when we try to heal the wounds of past hurts and injustices that come from broken relationships and failed commitments. We bring good news when we try to bind up and sooth the wounds and hurts of good people who are diminished by sins of prejudice and bigotry, good people excluded from families and neighbourhoods because their race or faith or life styles.
We proclaim liberty to captives and release to prisoners when we free ourselves from the habit or the tendency to stereotype people. We proclaim liberty to captives and release to prisoners when we free ourselves from our propensity to label men and women of different faiths or races as ‘these people’. We proclaim liberty to captives and release to prisoners when we free ourselves from our own narrow-mindedness our own intolerance toward people different from ourselves. We proclaim liberty to captives and release to prisoners when we free ourselves from that insularity that convinces us that we Catholics have a corner on God’s love and God’s truth.
Some days we win, some days we loose but always we try to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and release to prisoners and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor because He who is mighty has done great things for us, holy is his name. It is the Spirit Who gives us the insight to know when and were we can bring good new, set captives free, heal the broken hearted and we trust the truth that the one who calls us is faithful and He will do these things in us and through us and for us.