The Prelate’s Sermon, October 16
Today on the sixth Sunday of the Feast of the Holy Cross, our Scriptural reading is from the Gospel of St. Luke 4:14-23. Jesus, with the power of the Spirit, returns to Galilee and teaches. On a Saturday, our Lord, according to His custom, goes to the synagogue in Nazareth. When He was asked to read the daily scriptural reading, He read the following from the prophet Isaiah (61:1-2): “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has sent me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”.
This is one of the important passages in the New Testament which characterizes not only the earthly mission of our Lord Jesus Christ, but also applies to all those who following in His footsteps. I would like to share a few thoughts based upon just the first sentence: “Jesus, with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee.”
- Within the same chapter, the evangelist Luke amazingly emphasizes the presence of the Third Person of the Holy Trinity in the redemptive mission of our Lord Jesus Christ. Luke recounts that after the Baptism in the Jordan River, “Jesus full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness.” (4:1)
- This statement that Jesus, after the Baptism, being “full of the Holy Spirit”, “was led by the Spirit in the wilderness”, and again after the Temptation “filled with the power of the Spirit returned to Galilee” (4:14), is very crucial to understand the vital presence of the Almighty God in our lives. It is not in vain that the evangelist thrice is referring to the Holy Spirit as the motivating power throughout the entire course of the earthly mission of Christ. By emphasizing this fact, Luke makes us aware that Jesus Christ as perfect God became also perfect man, and as such, Jesus taught and performed all the miracles with the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus Christ, as the Only-begotten Son of God as well the role model human child of God, by fulfilling all the commandments of His Abba (Gal 4:6), taught us that through baptism, when we are born anew, we become full of the Holy Spirit (John 3.1-8). Following this unconditional granted Divine Grace, before, during or after facing any tribulation in our lives, we should be sure that we, as the Temple of God, are always full of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). This awareness that the Holy Spirit is constantly with us is very crucial and we should not be ignorant of this Divine Grace. Throughout our lifetime, the Evil One will try to alienate us from this consciousness, but as the true followers of Jesus Christ when we stay firm in our communion with God, truly we will enjoy the benefit of this partnership in time and beyond.
- Following these very important experiences, when our Lord Jesus Christ read the passage from the Prophet Isaiah, He not only referred to the fulfillment of the Scriptures, but solemnly proclaimed and confessed in advance that His mission is in accordance with God’s universal Plan, empowered by the Holy Spirit. No one and nothing can ever deviate the unshakable ordinance of the Almighty Creator and the heavenly Father, including the fallen dark prince of this world, who abused the power granted to him by the Almighty Lord. Thus, our heavenly Master taught us, through His example, to be conscious that we too are commissioned by our loving and caring Father to fulfill a designed mission, no matter how modest it might be seen.
- As in the very beginning, the Lamb of God (Jn 1:36) humbly publicized that the Holy Spirit is the Major Force in all His teaching and healings. Likewise, He seized every opportunity in performing miracles by looking up to the heavens and thanking the Father, thus teaching us that the supreme harmony in the Triune Godhead is in action and always works perfectly.
With the great teaching of today’s Gospel’s reading, let us humbly pray that the Holy Spirit, by Whom we are born anew, may always fill us, and as the psalmist says, “lead us into the land of the righteous” (Ps 143:10), praising the All-Holy Trinity. Amen.