23RD JANUARY 2022
TODAY THIS SCRIPTURE HAS BEEN FULFILLED IN YOUR HEARING
1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-30
In today's Gospel reading, Jesus ends his inaugural sermon by saying, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." This fulfillment is very critical because it touches areas that have never been tackled before because when Jesus says that he will preach the good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, give recovery of sight to the blind, set at liberty those who are oppressed, and proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, it means that what he has said has never been tackled before ;and that is why in next Sunday's Gospel reading after today's inaugural sermon of Jesus, the congregation in the synagogue will be angry at him to the point of wanting to throw him off the cliff. Why? Because they never imagined he could tackle such issues, they seemed comfortable or "fulfilled" with the way things were yet this is not the fulfillment that Jesus is talking about. Jesus is talking about the fulfillment that comes as a result of a positive change.
This fulfillment is an announcement of his mission. It is a description of the Kingdom of God. It is a promise of God's aid and presence, and all these are summarized by the word fulfilled.
This fulfillment is not fulfillment in general but rather for the poor, it is not release but release to those who are captive, sight not to everyone but to those who are blind, freedom not to everyone but to those who are oppressed. By saying, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing," Jesus is convinced that the Scripture has indeed been fulfilled in its hearing and the effects of such hearing is an ongoing reality.
If the Scripture has indeed been fulfilled in our hearing, then it is ours to ponder. It is ours to take seriously because what the people had wanted has been provided and the standards of the people have been raised up such that they are now satisfied. What is that brings you fulfillment? What aspect of your life and of your faith needs transformation so that you can reach true fulfillment? Transformation and fulfillment go hand in hand.
Can fulfillment be a thing of the past; that you were fulfilled today and then you do not need subsequent fulfillments? Jesus' sermon preached in his home town was good news for those who heard if first but what demand does it place on us who hear it now and today? If the inaugural sermon of Jesus has been fulfilled as a promise then it is indeed a promise for us to take on and fulfill because fulfillment here comes by making real a promise. Otherwise, the ongoing reality of Jesus' declaration of freedom risks the possibility of extinction and the possibility of leaving Jesus' promise of fulfillment in the past which we are persistently prone to.
The reality that Jesus mentions is still here with us and it calls us to continue preaching it and making sure it is happening.
What or how is life, even the life of faith without fulfillment? Why do we work? Why do we have relationships? Why do we pray? Why do we read the Word of God? Why do we eat and dress up? We do also these things to change our quality of life.
The Word of God is impressing upon us to continue reacting positively to our surroundings, to know it and to acknowledge it and live it in a fulfilling manner the way the congregation in the First Reading did by weeping and later celebrating.