SOCA State of the Church Address
By: Dcn. Garry Salguero
Our lives are full of words; some matter more than others. There are words that we utter when we are still learning how to speak, words that our parents, then our teachers, taught us, words we use to talk with someone special, and words we use to express our commitment to our loved one. Others are words that we use to give council or to apologize, or words that are used to hurt someone.
In our Gospel reading, we are treated to these kinds of words. They are not last words, but the first words of Jesus that Saint Luke recorded at the beginning of His ministry. This is like Jesus’ inaugural address, or, as I call it, His SOCA, or State of the Church Address. But this is not like the SONA’s that we have recently heard from various presidents or leaders. Their SONA’s are full of empty promises, probably written by their secretaries or cabinet members. Most of the time they give us list of their accomplishments, and list the errors or faults of other politicians. So what is the content of Jesus’ inaugural address? It is an announcement of His mission. It is a description of the Kingdom of God. It is a promise of God’s aid and presence.
But after the delivery of His speech, the people looked unconvinced with Jesus. There was no scripted clapping of hands, no standing ovation. In our First Reading, the people wept as they heard the reading of the Book of the Law of God and its explanation. The people realized that they had failed to obey God’s word. They realized that they had continually rejected God’s love and abundant blessings. Could it be that the people in Jesus’ time thought that they didn’t need ministry? “We are not poor, we are not prisoners, we are absolutely not blind or oppressed,” might have been their thoughts.
This is not far from what is happening today. We spend so much time acting as if we have it all together. There is pressure on us externally from society and internally from ourselves to not need anything or anyone. We often put up a façade of perfection, trying to make people think that everything is alright. In reality, we need God’s provision and guidance; and we need one another. God’s love and brotherly concern are always there for us, and we rejoice and praise God for His goodness.