The Gospel reading today follows directly on from last Sunday’s account of Jesus reading from the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah in the synagogue of Nazareth. When he was finished he sat down and then with all eyes fixed on him he announced, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’ In other words he told them that he was the Messiah so long foretold. These words become the first line of our Gospel reading today.
‘Start as you mean to go on’ is a very good proverb and Jesus certainly does this in our Gospel reading today. He stands up in the synagogue of Nazareth and issues a manifesto; he proclaims a statement of intent for the rest of his public ministry.
And this manifesto is not something made up by himself; it consists of the words of one of the most revered of all the prophets, Isaiah.
Now that the liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas are over we begin what is prosaically called Ordinary Time. This year is, of course, the year of Luke’s Gospel. But for reasons that might become clear we begin with the story of the first miracle as recorded in the Gospel of John.
It can be said that the Public Ministry of Jesus began with his Baptism at the hands of John the Baptist in the River Jordan. In common with the other Synoptic Gospels St Luke gives us a very short account of this significant event; but, brief though it is, he includes all the essentials
The word Epiphany is Greek and it literally means ‘manifestation’. In the liturgy a distinction had gradually come to be drawn between the actual birth of Christ and the occasion on which his coming was made known to the world. The date chosen for the Epiphany was the 6th January which appropriately coincided with the Jewish Feast of Lights.
Father Alex McAllister SDS
Parish Priest of
St Thomas à Becket