January 23, 2010

Life of the Party

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21 “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

I do admire people who bring joy in our presence. They are naturally funny and candid that they can literally bring life to any gatherings or conversations. I am not good in telling jokes but some people can deliver a good joke without even trying hard. I envy them! They are indeed life of the party! They bring joy that allows us to forget our daily grind and difficulties in life.

Two days ago, the CNN news reported a boy from Haiti who suddenly raised his hands and gave a good smile after being rescued from rubble after a week of no food and water. The boy gave the tired rescuers and the Haitians people a respite from emotional and physical fatigue, sense of hopelessness and meaninglessness. It’s good news at hand! Something we need to lift us up when everything seems falling apart. That boy is an epitome of Good news to Haitian people who are totally devastated from the recent earthquake that struck their nation.

Starting today and every Sunday, our gospel will be taken from the Gospel of Luke. Luke begins his gospel by telling us that everything written in his Gospel is true “so that we may realize the certainty of the teachings he received.” Luke realizes the importance of writing another Gospel to inspire those who are not Jews but became followers of Jesus. He knows that good news must always be proclaimed and shared, how much more if the good news is God Himself revealing Himself to us, including the Gentiles (including us), and loving us personally.

In our gospel today, we see Jesus standing and proclaiming the Good news, “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, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Luke (4:18-20) Jesus is more than life of the party. He is the life of Life itself! He may be good in telling jokes to bring a smile in our frown face, but Jesus brings hope to our weary heart and hopeless situation. And when one receives this wonderful hope that Jesus brings, we should rejoice in the Lord… for rejoicing in the Lord must be our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). There is always strength in rejoicing! For to rejoice is to believe in the good news!

The question I am posting to you now is, “Are you like Jesus? Do you bring good news to every people you meet every day? Are they thrilled when they know you are coming? Do you bring inner joy to each people you meet?”

When Jesus rolled the scroll after reading some verses from Isaiah, he said, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21) He said this because he himself is the fulfillment of the passage. Jesus is the Good News Himself! How I wish we are also the good news to our family, friends and to everybody. The good news that the Bible is proclaiming must not only be heard from our lips but must also be seen in our lives. We should be the living bible and our lives should be the living manifestation of the loving presence of God.

Natural calamities, tragedies, poverty, social injustices, cancers and mysteries of life will always be part of our life. Somehow we have accepted these realities. What pains me is we don’t have lots of good news bearers in our society. This is tragic. This is not good news for all us.

God is not asking to become another spiritual giant like St.Paul or St.Francis Xavier. He wants us to become bearers of God’s good news in our families, friends and workplace. If you don’t know how to begin, just wear a smile, learn to listen, be sensitive, care and lend a hand. These will teach you how to become like Jesus, more than life of the party, but life of Life!

- Fr.Wilfredo M. Samson,SJ / Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles California

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