Daily Reflection
January 9th, 2003
Joan Howard
University College
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
I John 4:19–5:4
Psalm 72:1-2, 14 and 15bc, 17
Luke 4:14-22

The reading from Luke’s gospel is one of those snippets, which seems to stop just shy of the heart of the message.  Actually, I think there is much heart in this reading.

In the reading, we encounter the man, Jesus, who has recently returned from the desert -- a time apart, a time of solitude and silence, a time of temptation, a time of soul searching, discernment and discovery.  The time apart is a time of intense intimacy with the Father.

In any relationship there comes a point of intimacy and the questions become more challenging, “How deeply involved and committed do I want to be?  How much of myself do I want to share and how much of the other do I want to know?  How committed will the other be to me?”

This man Jesus has been in an ongoing, developing, maturing, deepening intimate relationship with God during the “hidden” years of his life.  Jesus’ hidden years have been a time of spiritual growth, intimacy and discernment.  The incidents of temptation have been part of this maturing spirituality and identity with God.  Jesus is slowly becoming the ‘Son,’ ‘Servant’ and ‘Beloved’ as named by God.  Godself is gradually being revealed in Jesus.

In the temple in his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus reads from the prophet Isaiah:

“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, and to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
In the silence of a deafening pregnant pause, “the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.” Something has taken place -- a God moment, if you will.  It is almost as if Jesus’ audience has seen beyond the man Jesus, “son of Joseph”, one of them, to God.  And possibly Jesus himself has come to a deeper experience of Godself and of his own ministry.  The moment slowly passes, and Jesus responds, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” 
“And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth, this son of Joseph.

This reading is steeped in the mystery of the invitation and revelation of the glory of God.  God continues to invite each one of us into a unique and intimate relationship, into God’s own faith life. It is encouraging to know that Jesus himself struggled and grew in faith and wisdom and that the Father was continually revealing Godself to Jesus  just as God continues to reveal Godself to and through each one of us.  Growth in love, intimacy and discipleship is an ongoing, flowering journey through life.  Jesus is our companion and guide as we continue to grow in faith, love, and discipleship.  The answers to the questions surrounding intimacy rest with each one of us as God continually calls us to God’s heart.

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