In today’s Gospel reading, Luke describes Jesus speaking in public for the first time. He speaks to his own people in the synagogue at Nazareth, where he was brought up. He reads the words of the prophet Isaiah, promising good news for the poor, freedom for prisoners, healing for the sick and justice for those who are downtrodden. And he tells his own people, ‘These words are being fulfilled today, even as you listen.’ The promises that God made to the people are being kept, in the life and ministry of Jesus.
Words are powerful. We can choose to speak words of love, or of hatred; words that build people up, or knock them down. Once we have spoken a word, it’s hard – or impossible – to take it back.
The words of Jesus are especially powerful. No one who heard him speaking was left untouched by him. Those who heard him either became his disciples, or his enemies. In the end, Jesus’ teaching made him too many powerful enemies, and they put him to death on the Cross.
The words of Jesus are still powerful today. He calls us to repent; to change our lives and accept God’s forgiveness. He challenges us to bring good news for the poor and the captives, the sick and the downtrodden. The words of Jesus are words that call us to action. We can’t ignore them.