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Lent 2: Herald of Good News to the Poor – Luke 4:16-19
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Hi <<First Name>>,


In this week’s Living Lent study, we focus on a passage that some describe as Jesus’ mission statement. Here’s where we begin to see the practical outworking of Mary’s prayer for change in the world...
 

Reading

Luke 4:16-19
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 favour.”
 

Reflection

Luke 4:14-15 offers a summary of Jesus’ public ministry, of what he was all about, and in 4:16-30 we have an example of what Jesus taught in the various synagogues he attended. Later stories from of Jesus’ ministry refer back to this significant moment. Jesus’ mission and message specifically focus on the poor. But who are the poor and what constitutes a “poor” person in Jesus’ view? Does Jesus have in mind just the economically destitute or does he have in mind a wider group?
  • In Luke 4:18, the poor are associated with captives, the blind, and oppressed
  • In Luke 6:20, the poor are grouped together with the hungry, mournful and harassed
  • In 14:13 and 14:21, the poor are connected with the maimed, blind and lame
  • In 16:20, and 22, the poor are the hungry and those covered with sores
  • Then in Luke 21:2-4, the widow is someone who is completely economically destitute
This is further illustrated by the various people we see Jesus engage with throughout Luke 4:31-8:56. Thus the “poor” in the ministry of Jesus are those distinguished by their lowly status, lack of power, miserable treatment and their lack of resources. Jesus’ vocation, as with those who follow him, specifically includes a focus on “the poor”.
 

Prayer

Gracious God, we give you thanks for your generous provisions. Make us aware of the marginalised and the dispossessed, the lowly and forgotten, the broken and hungry; that we may bring good news, and God’s blessing to “the poor” (Luke 6:20). May we use our power and influence to participate in the creation of such a good and blessed world, as Jesus did.
Amen.
Keep an eye out for a couple more emails this week before next week’s reflection arrives on Monday evening.  We will be looking at the parable of the Good Samaritan.

See you then,
Sean

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