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 broken hearted,
to proclaim liberty to captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the Lord
and a day of vindication by our God. —Is. 61:1-2
By proclaiming a “year of favor” the prophet was drawing on an ancient tradition in which every 50th year was celebrated as a year of jubilee. As
legislated in Leviticus, the jubilee year was marked by social and economic traditions and founded on religious principles. In thanksgiving to God for their many blessings, the people were to let the land lie fallow. Property that had once been seized, borrowed or rented was returned to its rightful owner. Slaves were freed and debts were either paid or forgiven. (Celebration)
Today we celebrate Gaudete Sunday. It is a day to rejoice. I’m sure those people who experienced a “year of favor” had reason to rejoice. Pope Francis called us to be people who know the joy of the gospel and to bring that message of joy to others. The kind of joy that Pope Francis speaks of cannot come if we are self-centered.
“To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal” makes us indifferent. “We end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor…they fail to move us.”
I am grateful for everyone who has responded to people who would not have much of a Christmas without your generosity. Many gifts have come in for the “Giving Tree”. Many families have been adopted for Christmas. Much food was contributed at Thanksgiving time. There is reason to rejoice. There is also reason to look and see if there are things our society can do to allow people a better way of life.
If you have not had an opportunity to experience the joy of mercy and forgiveness, there are two reconciliation services being offered this Advent season in our deanery.
12/14/14 Presentation – Lee’s Summit
12/18/14 St. Robert – Blue Springs
Both services begin at 7:00 p.m. We also have individual confession Saturday afternoon from 4:00 – 4:30. It is a good way to prepare for