This morning Jesus proclaims his truth and his heart’s desire in a passage from Isaiah, one which probably he had heard and read more than once before. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor, 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.” But today it's different; he understands himself in what he reads. He is this Word. The Word made flesh reads the scroll of the prophet and recognizes himself, his mission in and through the Word. He simply cannot keep this good news to himself and so he says, "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing." And we hear an echo of the words he will speak later on to a Samaritan woman at a well, “I who am speaking with you am he; I myself am the mercy and compassion of the Father that Isaiah wrote about. This Word is me.”
Like Jesus, we too will come to understand ourselves, our truth in in the Word. And surely, like Jesus, each one of us has a passage that is ours, a word, words that have touched our hearts and describe something we perhaps always felt but never knew how to describe. This is our word, written by an author we never met, for Sacred Scripture is our Book. And best of all, whenever we engage with the Word, our reading is not just reading, it is encounter - with the Person of Jesus, Word made flesh and Splendor of the Father. Such is the truth of our own lectio divina - as we read, we discover, more often than not, that we ourselves are being read. The life we live is not our own. We are Christ’s body, part of him, in him.
And our stories are one with his. In Christ Jesus God “has become not only one of us but even our very selves.” Jesus himself is our story, our book, our destiny - now, today; Jesus is the Book - with "the power to reflect and illuminate our life; the one Book that forever informs how we navigate the life we have been given." The wounded and risen Jesus is the template that makes sense of each of our lives.
Quotes from Thomas Merton & Katharine Smyth . Photograph by Father Emmanuel.