Jesus has been sent to evangelize the poor.
God anointed him with the Spirit for this mission. But to evangelize is not something “spiritual” in the sense of “unreal” or “useless” even.
To evangelize is not just to announce the Gospel by word and in an abstract manner. Evangelization entails, above all, a proclamation by deed, in a concrete way. It is releasing those unjustly bound, untying the thongs of the unbearable yoke, it is giving respite to the tired and overburdened, the most abandoned and maltreated, among which is the earth herself (LS 2).
The evangelization, then, that makes for the realization that the teachings conveyed are certain can only come from the one who, after uttering words, assures the quite attentive assembly, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Indeed, Jesus is God’s creative Word.
Just as God, with his word, gave rise to all of creation, so also does Jesus, the Word that gives fulfillment to all the words communicated by God in times past through the prophets, bring into existence what he utters. Just as God’s words comforted and spurred on his chosen people, so also does the Word made flesh, the only one that reveals God and his thoughts and ways, encourage those who are crushed and challenge us to exert efforts on behalf of a world more fit for humans.
Are these the kind of words we say in Jesus’ name? Do we use the words recommended by St. Vincent de Paul (SV.FR X:333), fitting, heartfelt, tender, good enough to bring to God even the most difficult and troublesome? Are the teachings from Laudato Si’ not but idle talk for us, as we perhaps continue with the same old consumerist lifestyle?
Is the Scripture proclaimed plainly and simply in our churches, so that everyone can understand it and repentant hearts shed tears of joy? Does the statement that the different members of the body have the same concern for one another become a reality in our Christian communities? Do our words contribute to the creation of the communion that is pleasing to God, not of the sacrilegious one that dismembers Christ by letting needy members go hungry?
Do we have St. Vincent’s conviction? Recalling fondly and with astonishment the beginnings of the C.M, he kept repeating, “He has sent me to evangelize the poor”; living the repeated words, he taught by his life that nothing mattered more to him than to evangelize the poor in imitation of Christ (SV.FR XII:1-14).
Lord, grant us to evangelize the poor by words and by works, assisting them in every way and seeing to it that others assist them likewise (SV.FR XII:87-88).
January 24, 2016
3 Sunday O.T. (C)
Neh 8, 2-4a. 5-6. 8-10; 1 Cor 12, 12-30; Lk 1, 1-4; 4, 14-21