06 Jan John 4:18-19 (Vulnerable)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me for he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to the oppressed, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoner, to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19 (full readings)
Jean’s Reflections: To share in Christ’s gospel mission is to share in Christ’s vulnerability. The Latin root of “vulnerable” means “wound.” Christ’s vulnerability is the quality that draws sinners to him, the quality of compassion and understanding that is given and received when one views oneself as a fellow-sufferer. It is the quality that heals division and heals souls. Christ shares in our pain, infirmities, guilt, afflictions, oppression, and condemnation (Is 53). If I don’t see myself as sharing in the woundedness of the world it will be difficult for me to share in Christ’s mission, unable to risk compassion and mercy. In obediently surrendering his freedom, Jesus became more and more identified with God, who has complete freedom, and in that freedom took all the risk of vulnerability, that is, to love unconditionally, keep no record of wrongs, fear not, nor protect himself. In freely loving, God is most of all who God is. In coming most vulnerably into creation, God is not giving up the characteristics of divinity but most fully manifesting them. When we strive for obedience – first through discipline and then with enthusiasm — we become more and more who God intends, loving fully and freely, with vulnerability.
Faith Challenge: Be aware that what our culture defines as good – prosperity, success, strength, power, invulnerability, being #1 – leads us, draws us, invites us to self-satisfaction, to be so full of ourselves we forget God’s will. Notice how, through Christ, God leads us, draws us, invites us to empty ourselves, to use God’s perspective and focus on the needs of the poor, the sick, the stranger, the prisoner, and the unborn, those to whom Christ brings good news. Christ counts us among them (if we are willing) and asks us to see the image of God in each one as he does. Christ tends to us, heals and lifts us up, reminding us that the “last” are, in fact, “first” in God’s kingdom.
Feast Day: St. Andre Bessette
* ”I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me…for when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~ St. Paul
* “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” ~ C.S. Lewis
* Pray/Fast: Prayer connects us with God’s will & His miracles, changing us & helping others. Fast from things that take your eyes off Jesus. Those who pray together stay together, and close to God!
* Save Unborn (& family): Abortion reality (images)…#1 death cause (23% pregnancies). Prov 24:11 & Jer 1:5. “A great poverty that a child must die that you might live as you wish.” Mother Teresa
* Evangelize:Make room for unbelievers & re-evangelization of self, by way of prayer (relationship) and following Christ’s example of love (service/sacrifice/mercy). Matt 28:19.