God is sending
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God.
John the Baptist appears in the dessert preaching a baptism of repentance. The beautiful beginning of the Gospel according to St. John notes: A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. John came with a purpose based on a call from God. We too are sent to testify to the light, so that all might believe [in Jesus] through us. This call comes to us and this commission is given us at the moment of Baptism. We publically declare our acceptance of God’s call and commission as adults in Confirmation. We are strengthened and fed for this work in receiving Holy Communion. When we fail at our task we are renewed in the Sacrament of Penance.
It is hard to think that the Lord has anointed us. Really – Who, me? That seems like such a solemn and important thing. Think anointed and we may picture (as recent events indicate) the ordination of a priest, the consecration of a bishop, or the crowning of a king or queen. Prophets were anointed, King David was anointed – and yes we are anointed. As Christians we are anointed into the royal priesthood and into the family of God, the body of Christ. We are anointed as prophets, evangelists and leaders. The gifts of the Spirit are poured out on us – wisdom, understanding, right judgment, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They are the tools given to us so we can fulfill our great commission, to proclaim the Lord’s favor to all and to baptize them into Christ.
Our anointing is solemn, it is important, and it is joyful and life-giving. That is why Jesus left us every tool and grace we need to carry out our commission. He continually calls us into unity with Him, complete unity with His eternal life-giving love and power.
Advent gives us the opportunity we need to reconnect to our anointing, our call and commission. It allows us to recollect and re-recognize the wonderful gifts God has graciously given us. It slows us to give Advent witness to a world that might think Christmas Day is the end of the season rather than the beginning of forty days and an eternity of rejoicing.
Yes, God is sending us with power and conviction. Let us bring glad tidings to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captives and release to prisoners. Let us announce a year of favor from the LORD.