Collect for the Feast of St. Luke
Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Gospel according to Luke 4:14-21
Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the Scroll and found the place where it was written:
“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.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Our passage opens with Jesus returning in the power of the Spirit to Galilee from the wilderness where he had overcome temptation. Jesus’ work is accompanied by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit in Luke leads, fills, and empowers for prophetic work. Jesus himself is filled with the Holy Spirit who then leads him into the wilderness for a time of fasting and testing. So, when we see Jesus being led by the Spirit, we should not be surprised to encounter guidance, empowerment, and prophetic words. Jesus enters the synagogue on that sabbath morning. He is asked to read the lesson from the prophets. There is no lectionary to consult to determine this reading; the choice is up to him. Nor is there a book to flip through. Instead, a bulky scroll is brought to him, and placed on the lectern. Jesus, searching for a familiar text, unrolls it to a place near the end of the scroll. In a voice strong with anticipation, he reads aloud these words:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind,to deliver those who are crushed,and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Jesus begins explaining the Scripture by telling them that today when they heard the Scripture read it was fulfilled in their presence. Jesus himself will be the location for the fulfillment of this prophesy. In the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is the one who has been chosen to preach and proclaim the good news of God. The elders of the church find their discomfort increasingly intolerable and think that his judicial murder will bring an end to the matter. They are wrong, of course. Jesus rises alive from the dead and continues today to do what he talked about that sabbath morning long ago. Now the way he works is through his mystical body, the Church. Through each of us, and all who are baptized into his body, Jesus strives still to live out his mission statement, bringing good news to all.