This week’s gospel opens the third week of Ordinary Time. We start with Luke’s Gospel that recounts Jesus’ visit to a synagogue in Nazareth where he preaches on the Sabbath, foreshadowing and proclaiming the fulfillment of the scriptures.
The Vincentians follow a very Lukan approach to their mission. In saying this we mean that Luke lends itself to the service-oriented values of the Vincentian Mission. In this gospel, Jesus reads a passage from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” This passage is especially important to our faith community because it is rooted in our own Vincentian family values. Jesus proclaims that we are called to honor the dignity of everyone we encounter.
This is applicable to our current situation regarding the pandemic. We have so many opportunities to take care of each other from the smallest act of wearing a mask to the bigger acts of service such as working in our soup kitchen. No matter who you are, this gospel invokes the Vincentian question: “What must be done?”
This question especially provokes in me, the question of dignity. Each day I pass many homeless people on the streets, some asking for a couple of dollars at stoplights and others sleeping under bridges. It is sometimes hard for us to look and see what is happening but by seeing we are acknowledging their dignity and acknowledging the need for change. This gospel asks us to learn to become agents of change and recognize the poverty that exists from the lack of love. It is our duty to love as Jesus loved and to fight for the dignity of each and every life.