Fulfilled in our Hearing

January 24, 2016

It was just another day at the synagogue.  People gathered to hear the word of God.  It was the routine of life.  This day, led by the Spirit, Jesus of Nazareth motions for the scroll to be given to Him. He reads the proclamation of a year acceptable to the Lord.  It is a year in which glad tidings are to be given to the poor, liberty is to be given to the captives and the blind will see.  It is a proclamation and a pronouncement of faith.  I often reflect on what happens next.  There is great excitement and anticipation in the crowd.  It states that all eyes were upon Him.  He begins with the word “today”. With everything going on in the world, with everyone looking for a Messiah, griping about the Roman occupation, He begins not with a history lesson, but with a proclamation of the present–today. I often reflect on this Gospel, as it moved me early in my seminary formation.  Jesus led by the Spirit, offers us today.  Too often we are held captive of the past.  We are imprisoned by the hurts of the history of our lives.  This paralyzes us.  Sometimes our pride, ego and self-righteousness blind us because we believe we are more than we are.  In that simple word “today” Jesus freezes the crowd.  The past is the past, the future is still the future, but what we have is “today”.

One year Kirby Puckett of the Minnesota Twins was both the Home Run Leader and the Strike Out Leader in baseball at the same time.  If he thought about all the home runs, or if he thought about all the failures of striking out, he would miss his turn at bat.  He needed to get into the batter’s box right then and there and concentrate on the moment.  When I golf, I can think of the last lesson, which did not go well or I can think of the most perfect shot I ever hit, but both rob me of the moment and the opportunity of what this ball will do as it flies down the fairway, or into the trees or lands in the water.  All of its potential is there in that moment, today.  Jesus rallied the crowds to look at the moment. He challenged them to see the reality of God’s presence in their midst.  They were looking at outcomes to reassure themselves of blessings. They were looking at history to see what a Messiah would look like and all the while, they were missing the blessing of the day.

Every day is an adventure and an opportunity to allow ourselves to be open to the awareness of God’s presence.  We say all the time that He will never abandon us, and He doesn’t.  But He also wants our eyes to be open, our ears to find their hearing and our hearts to find His mercy.  It all begins with today!  May this today be all that God wants it to be.

Rev. John J. Ouper