by Charlene Howard
Pax Christi USA National Council Chair
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because God has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
God 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.” (Lk 1:1-4, 4:14-21)
This familiar passage is one of my favorites because, in it, Jesus basically tells us, “What you hear is what you get.” That is, he gives us his calling card so that there is no doubt who he is or what he’s about. In this quote from Isaiah, Jesus describes affirmation, liberation, and restoration as long-term expectations for pleasing God. The anointed one in his authority from the Father lays out for all who have ears to hear that not only a description of himself but implies that we, too, have a call to bring peace to our environment through these actions. Like the CBS Washington, D.C. Channel 9 News segment, let’s “verify” whether what Jesus proclaims is a prescription for our Christian witness and work.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me . . .’‘ Sound Catholic catechesis teaches us that Jesus is God and Man. Pictorial representations of His baptism by John at the Jordan River depict the Dove (image of the Holy Spirit) hovering above Him as the Father voices favor over his Son. The Spirit was upon Him. Our formation also certifies that when we are likewise Baptized, we too have the Spirit upon us. This Spirit led Jesus to release people from all manner of physical, mental and emotional bondage so they would be open to the love of the God who made them. By our Baptism, we share in this ability to provide opportunities for others to feel the invisible love of God” through our tangible acts of courtesy, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and patience…