Called to Live Anew
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed meâ€¦ He has sent me
Anew â€“ it is a word we will focus on for years to come. Now is the time for our next great step together, to call people anew to knowing, loving, and serving the Lord and His Holy Church right here at this parish.
At the beginning of todayâ€™s gospel, Luke, the scientist, addresses Theophilus (translated literally as â€œFriend of Godâ€), relating to him the gospel message he received.
Luke relates the gospel, not for the sake of telling a story, or even creating a documentary on the life of Jesus (he wasnâ€™t working for the History or Discovery channels), but rather for the purpose of Theophilusâ€™ certainty. He was sending the message so that energized with it, Theophilus would live out and proclaim the gospel message, drawing others to it.
We need the same certainty. We have the same charge.
In regrettable ways many Christians have become bystander faithful, documentary viewing devotees, and going through the motions followers, believers without passion or resolve. Many have forgotten the gospel charge â€“ to go out and proclaim it for the gathering in of fellow disciples.
It must not be so for us. We need to feel within ourselves the Gospelâ€™s confidence and certainty. Armed with its confidence and certainty we then walk the gospel path ever more closely. We proclaim that gospel ever more boldly. We become like Theophilus â€“ each of us a friend of God and witness in our community.
To live life anew, life in the Kingdom already present for us, we must set confidently to work, the work shown us this very day.
Like Ezra and Nehemiah, we are to call the people in, call them together, and place before them the glory of the gospel word and way â€“ and then celebrate. We are to take the gifts St. Paul reminds us we have each received in different type and proportion and use them with passion for the building up of the Kingdom. By our work and word many are to know, love, and serve the Lord in His Holy Church, members of His body.
Because we are the friends of God, the Theophiloi, residents of and workers in the Kingdom, armed with the great gifts of the Holy Spirit, and charged by Jesus Himself to go out and make disciples, we must take the certainty of the gospel seriously and set to work. We must be bold in our proclamation â€“ sometimes in subtle ways, other times ingeniously, still other times with great verve, but always confidently.
The words Jesus spoke today are not just Self-referential. They apply to us. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us. We are anointed. We are sent.