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Published: January 27 2013
At the beginning of Luke’s Gospel, we are introduced to Theophilus, a gentleman who had become my special friend during my Scripture studies. Perhaps he has become your special friend also. For me, it was a memory event couched in my grade school days. How could I ever forget the letters sent to us by the Bishop in those early days at the Sunday Mass? Each one was prefaced by the greeting, dearly beloved. I don’t remember anything else about the Bishop’s message except the fact that I was called dearly beloved. My mom and dad, my brothers and sister were all called dearly beloved. To me that was really special. Then, of course, years later in my Scripture class, I learned that Theophilus means beloved of God. Such a happy memory that we continue to be blessed as dearly beloved and/or beloved of God, as we reflect on the Scripture or reflect on the Word of God. Those with whom we share God’s Word become Theophilus to us, our dearly beloved. And it is Gift of God.
And what does Luke have to say to us today? He speaks the words of Jesus, words that are meant to bring the power of the Spirit to Jesus in his ministry. They are words that can bring the power of the Spirit to each of us in our modern ministries. Melt us, mold us, fill us, use us . . . Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on us. As Jesus was aware of the power of the Spirit, so was he aware of our need for the power of the Spirit.
Jesus’ message continues with the words of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed 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.” I’m sure that for many of Jesus’ listeners, it was new information to think of the words of Isaiah as their call. As Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, we can sort out our various ministries that fit into Isaiah’s ministry program. Our ministries include education at all levels, including immigrants. We include freeing the lonely, blessing those who have lost their loved ones, helping those who are blind to the truth; and blessing those who are oppressed in one way or another. What are you doing to respond to the call of the Gospel in reaching out to others?
Dearly Beloved, we are loved, we are chosen---all of us. We are God’s! All God’s people need to be included in our reaching out and in our proclaiming the “good news.” Enjoy the ministry to which God calls you and with which the Spirit has empowered you. Amen!