Thursday after Epiphany  

            “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me…”

            What distinguishes Jesus from all other “miracle workers” is that he is empowered by the Spirit and not by any other force. And his anointing by the Spirit is meant to be concretized in a salvific mission that includes preaching the good news to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and proclaiming “a year acceptable to the Lord.” The last phrase is also called “the jubilee year.” In other words, the mission of Jesus is to liberate. It is a program of liberation from all forms of slavery which hinders persons from becoming children of God. That is the epiphany or revelation for today.

            In light of this, we are now able to understand the mission of the Church: the proclamation of the Good News through her words, actions, and life. And the core of this Good News is the kingdom of God where truth, justice, peace, equality, freedom, mercy, compassion, and love would reign.

            No leader can accomplish his goals for the good of his people unless they actively support him with their time, talent, and treasure. In the same way, Jesus cannot continue to accomplish his messianic work and his liberating mission in our time and place unless we put our faith in him, follow his way, and fight for his causes. Just as no country can survive, let alone prosper, when it has too many freeloaders for citizens, so too the kingdom of God cannot thrive when it has too many do-nothing Christians.

            If the world is in such a sorry and miserable state today, we cannot put the blame on Christ or on Christianity. We have to blame ourselves in part, especially if we are merely card-carrying Christians – that is, Christians who claim to believe in Christ, but are uncommitted to his causes. G.K. Chesterton was right when he said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

            In Baptism and Confirmation, we, too, have received the Holy Spirit. We, too, have been anointed and sent or commissioned to preach the Good News. We, too, have been empowered to share in Christ’s saving and liberating mission. Let us not fall into the trap of saying to ourselves, “I am only an ordinary person. I cannot do powerful things for God.” We should realize – and firmly believe – that we are all extraordinary and we can do extraordinary thing by virtue of our anointing in the Holy Spirit.

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