“Jesus stood up to read and the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” …Then Jesus began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
We have all encountered “aha” moments in our lives, when something is seen or heard or read, and we have an instant clarity and certainty where we cry out “Yes!! This is for me. This is what I am all about!!” It may be the moment when we meet the person we are meant to marry. Or the moment when we realize we have a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, or discover our life’s mission.
Jesus encounters his “aha” moment when he reads the words of the prophet Isaiah and understands intuitively and instantaneously that he is reading the vision God has for his life on earth. He is sent by God to minister to the poor and broken and disregarded people in society. He is to proclaim to them that God knows them and loves them and wants to bless them, to lift them up out of their positions of rejection and contempt, and restore their nobility and dignity in God’s eyes. From now on in Luke’s gospel, we will see Jesus moving steadily forward to fulfill this goal. He has found God’s vision for his life.
Matthew Kelly, in his book “Rediscovering Catholicism” speaks of the supreme importance of each of us finding God’s vision for our life. He quotes Proverbs 29:18 which says, “Where there is no vision, the people will perish” and goes on to say (Page 16): “I have found this to be true in every area of life. In a country where there is no vision, the people will perish. In a marriage where is no vision, people will perish. In a business, a school, or a family where there is no vision, the people will perish.” The same is true of a parish or a church. This is why I have worked from my first days here to spell out what God wants to see when he looks at the parish of St Philip’s and the mission parish of St Clare’s. To paraphrase Matthew Kelly, he wants to see parish communities that are striving with all their might to become the best version of themselves that they can be. In earlier days, we would have described this as the call to be holy, to be saints.
However we describe it, the reality is the same. Each of us has to be asking themselves every day, “Lord, what can I do today with your help to become more and more the best version of myself that I can be?” Without that vision before us, we will surely perish.