Daily Readings Reflection for 8/31/09

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Reflection on the Daily Readings for 8/31/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: I Thessalonians 4:13-18. Psalm 96:1.3.4-5.11-12.13 Luke 4:16-30.
Lectionary # 431.

Paul gives us some most consoling words about our personal resurrection
because of our belief in Jesus and our fidelity to him. Death is
vanquished by this powerful truth of our faith and Paul writes convincingly
about it to give all believers in Jesus great hope. Paul is the one
inspired writer who speaks personally about it and shares his faith
convictions with us to help us with our fear about death and are doubts
about the afterlife. As a Pharisee and now as a Christian believer he
proclaims a bodily resurrection that tells us that we will be the same
persons after death and not lost in some kind of a black hole as a molecule
of ongoing creation. We all remember the adage “matter is neither created
nor destroyed” from our rudimentary science classes. Yet, Paul goes beyond
this when he speaks of creation and redemption in such personal and
convincing language. He also speaks of the endtime or the Second Coming of
Christ called in the New Testament, the Parousia. He is always consistent
with his teaching on this topic as we see both here and in I Corinthians
where he gives some outstanding inspired words about resurrection. His
teaching on both redemption and resurrection are the most profound in the
Bible. We do well to follow his thought and to embrace the faith that he is
sharing with us. He says today, “Those who have died in Christ will rise
first.”

Our liturgical readings for the Gospel now turn to Luke after having heard
Matthew in many past months. The choice begins with Jesus’ innaugural
message of his mission. He speaks in his own hometown synagogue and
interprets the prophecy of Isaiah showing that he is going to fulfill it
through what he will say and do. He has captured his audience and is now
looking at them in return for their focusing upon him both with eyes of
their doubts as well as belief. It is a dramatic and well described scene
by our master artist Luke. Luke is ordering his content according to the
theme of his promise and fulfillment theology. The text from Isaiah is not
found on a scroll in the way Luke cites it; rather it is a combination of
Isaiah 61:1-2 and Isaiah 58:6. Jesus is to bring the good news to the poor
and to release those bound by their oppressors as well as those bound by
their sins. His message in Luke is universal and it comes directly through
the Holy Spirit who is always central to the theology of the Gospel of
Luke. We are called to join in this mission as believers who are called to
be attentive to the needs of the poor and the marginal. Jesus is not a
military revolutionary; he is however a spiritual revolutionary who turns
all false religious thinking and secular thought completely upside down.
We need to do this also by careful and courageous discernment under the
inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit. Amen.

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