In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus went into the synagogue and read this passage from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
He then looked at all those who sat listening to Him and proclaimed: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Wow! We hear that and we feel excited. But the people listening then were astounded—so astounded that they became furious. They drove Him from the temple believing He had committed blasphemy. But we know that He did not. We know that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the promises in the Old Testament.
As Christ said, He was sent to “proclaim liberty to captives.” We desperately need this liberty, for we are all ensnared and held captive by something of this world—our jobs, our friend groups, social media, the news, even our phones. We allow these things to take the place of Jesus in our hearts and minds. We allow these things to fill us, and often they fill us with anger, resentment, anxiety, sadness, or more.
But Jesus is here—and has always been here—to free us from the chains that come with these things. He doesn’t just fill us, as these things do, He brings us joy, peace, love, and harmony.
Nothing of this world can do that. Sure, many can bring happiness, but happiness is fleeting. Happiness doesn’t last. But a joy in Christ lasts.
So let us take time to reflect on how we spend our days. Where is our focus? Are we spending so much time watching the news, playing on our phones, or scrolling through social media that Christ becomes secondary in our lives? Are we letting the world fill us with an anger that threatens to destroy the joy we have?
Because of sin, our world is broken. This should—and often does—bring us sadness, but it’s a sadness we must not dwell upon. Instead, we must turn this sadness into an awareness that only loving and God-centered actions can effect the change we need in this world.
So, as we begin this new year, let us allow God to liberate us from our captivity and truly make this a year acceptable to the Lord.
Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with an MA in liberal studies from Indiana University. For the past 17 years, she has worked as a professional editor and writer, editing both fiction and nonfiction books, magazine articles, blogs, educational lessons, professional materials and website content. Eleven of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently Susan freelances and writes weekly for HLI, edits for American Life League, and is the editor of Celebrate Life Magazine. She also serves as executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program-an educational nonprofit program for K-12 students.
Feature Image Credit: Luis Ca, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/2094-un-solo-dios