Reading: Isaiah 61:1-7

Reflection: A love for God and for others was at the heart of Jesus’ mission, especially as that love leads us into a commitment to justice. On Sunday our scriptures takes us to a synagogue in Nazareth where Jesus read a portion of Isaiah’s prophecy and then claimed that prophecy for himself. Today, we read the words from the prophet himself. These words were most likely written to the exiles who had returned from Babylon and were trying to rebuild their broken nation. They had experienced the pain of oppression and displacement and knew what it was like to live in despair. Now, although they were a liberated people, they still had to face the brokenness of their homeland.

These words would have been comforting and encouraging, and the reference to the Jubilee (the year of the Lord’s favor) would have offered the people a vision of a new, just, and peaceful nation. Notice the words of restoration, healing and blessing that the prophet offers to God’s people. Jesus clearly understood his ministry as a continuation of this prophecy and when he called disciples to follow, he wanted them to embody this new community of love and grace.

Today, as we read these words, we, too, are called to participate in making this vision a reality in our world. How can you offer your life to God as an instrument of peace, justice and restoration in your small corner of the world?

Practice for Today: The practice of prayer remains an important way to cooperate with God’s restoring mission in the world. As we pray, we invite God to work in our world and in our hearts, and we also listen for God’s voice of direction that shows us how we can be part of the answer to our own prayers. Try to pray like this throughout today.

Prayer for Today: As I pray for my world, O God, anoint and direct me to be a participant in your saving work.

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