Monday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Praying for understanding
He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “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.” Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” Lk 4,16-22
God’s word is revelation and creation: the moment he reveals the truth, he is creating the conditions for it to happen. We, too, sometimes, when we had doubts about a choice to make, we put to praying and the Lord enlightened us, often through a few verses of the Bible which, at that time, was the answer to our problem. It is true that the Lord has given us the intelligence and a certain amount of common sense to discern the way we have to walk in different situations of life, yet there is not always an only way. So, it is best to put to pray, as the first apostles did when they had to elect a replacement for Judas. Peter said: “it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us”. Two were proposed, Joseph called Barsabbas and Matthias. Then he prayed, “You, Lord, …. show which one of these two you have chosen …. Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1,21-26). Before they cast lots, that really means throwing the dice, their insight had led them to two people who they thought had both the requirements to become apostles. At that point, they needed faith in order to choose, and, by praying, they offered the choice to the Lord. Other times it may happen that the Lord himself takes the initiative, enlightening a person, a situation, or a verse of the Holy Scripture, while the brothers in faith are praying. This is what happened to Jesus in the synagogue of Nazareth, whom the Spirit made announce, once opened the scroll of the prophet 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”. It was exactly the Jesus’s mission in his earthly life and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, it is the mission of the Church as well, also today.