First reading 1 John 4:19-5:4

Anyone who loves God must also love his brother

We are to love,
because God loved us first.
Anyone who says, ‘I love God’,
and hates his brother,
is a liar,
since a man who does not love the brother that he can see
cannot love God, whom he has never seen.
So this is the commandment that he has given us,
that anyone who loves God must also love his brother.
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ
has been begotten by God;
and whoever loves the Father that begot him
loves the child whom he begets.
We can be sure that we love God’s children
if we love God himself and do what he has commanded us;
this is what loving God is –
keeping his commandments;
and his commandments are not difficult,
because anyone who has been begotten by God
has already overcome the world;
this is the victory over the world –
our faith.

Responsorial Psalm 71(72):1-2,14-15,17

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.
O God, give your judgement to the king,
  to a king’s son your justice,
that he may judge your people in justice
  and your poor in right judgement.
All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.
From oppression he will rescue their lives,
  to him their blood is dear.
(Long may he live,
  may the gold of Sheba be given him.)
They shall pray for him without ceasing
  and bless him all the day.
All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.
May his name be blessed for ever
  and endure like the sun.
Every tribe shall be blessed in him,
  all nations bless his name.
All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

Gospel Luke 4:14-22

‘This text is being fulfilled today, even as you listen’

Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him.
  He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written:
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for he has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives
and to the blind new sight,
to set the downtrodden free,
to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.
He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’ And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips.
God is with those who suffer
At the start of Jesus’ mission, He declared that He came to proclaim the Good News that God of love and mercy is here. Jesus went around healing the sick and giving hope to all those suffering, not to show that He was a miracle worker, but to reveal the nearness of God. He wanted to awaken the people’s faith and lead them to encounter God’s presence of love, who is always on the side of those suffering.
Today, Jesus entrusts us with this same mission to us, i.e. to alleviate the suffering of those broken and burdened by fears, work for peace in relationships torn apart by stubborn pride, and welcome those excluded from community life. We are called to be signs of God’s love and mercy to those around us, starting from our families. Jesus came to reveal that God is on the side of the weak and the poor. We, as His messengers, must be with God is.
Question for reflection:
Do people see the presence of God in me?
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr. Sandra Seow FMVD.