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3rd Sunday after Epiphany: 'Walking in Fulfillment of Scripture'

When we go to church, do we expect something? Do we expect to hear a good sermon or nice hymns and songs? Do we expect to be welcomed or receive comfort from people we know? Maybe some of us do. The people in the synagogue, after Jesus had finished reading the passage from the Old Testament, were all expecting something. In the Gospel today (Luke 4:14-21) Jesus started His ministry by teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He read the book of the prophet Isaiah, and after reading it, the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (verse 21). Jesus' one-sentence sermon was the shortest but the most powerful, because His words are words of hope. He knew exactly what the people needed to hear that day. Maybe they had difficulty believing it, but Jesus wanted them to believe that He is the Messiah.

All of the people in the synagogue and all of us today were the poor, the imprisoned, the blind and the oppressed. Our Lord looks beyond the surface to the core of our soul. Now, He declares that the wait is over and the promises are fulfilled. The fulfillment of this scripture began with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus but continues in the life of the church today. All over the world the church is bringing good news to the poor, proclaiming release to the captives, helping the blind recover their sight, helping to free the oppressed and proclaiming the year of the Lord's favor (v. 18-19).

The church needs faithful people to do the task. 1 Corinthians 12:14-15 says, “If the foot says ‘Because I am not a hand I am not part of the body’, it is not for this reason any less a part of the body. And if the ear says ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not part of the body’, it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.” The apostle Paul wants us to realize that each person in the body of Christ is important. Even if you think of yourself as the most overlooked and ignored member of the body, you are of great value. Everyone must do his or her part in the body of Christ. Whether providing relief goods for the typhoon victims and the needy or training the youth for ministry, the church is helping Jesus to fulfill what He identified in those passages as part of His mission. We can build Christ’s community of faith right here where we are. Caring for people was Jesus’ main concern, and it must be our concern too.

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