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THURSDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD.

6TH JANUARY 2022


USEFUL POWER


1 JOHN 4:19-5:4

PSALM 72:1-2, 14-15, 17

LUKE 4:14-22


Today’s Gospel reading starts by pointing out that Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country. The key phrase here is that Jesus returned in the power of the

Spirit.

When you hear the word “power” what comes into your mind? What does power mean to you? Does it mean significant influence or wealth? Or perhaps great physical strength or military power?

It is clear that Jesus does not wield power in terms of political influence or wealth, neither does he have physical or military power, he only possess the power of the Holy Spirit that enables him to do what he does and say what he says. This power makes us see the priority that Jesus has and the tone that he sets as he begins his ministry meaning that any type of power that you have shows what you value and what is close to your heart.

If Jesus has the power of the Holy Spirit and goes ahead to point out what he will do with that power, namely; preaching good news to the poor, proclaiming release to the captive and the recovery of sight to the blind and to set at liberty those who are oppressed, it means that the people he has mentioned have one thing in common; that they are definitely not the powerful in the world. They are the people that we feel sorry for and, would not think or admire being like them.

Who would like to be poor, to be captive, to lose sight or to be oppressed? The power that Jesus has which is the power of the Holy Spirit pushes us to reconfigure our notions of power and reorient our attention away from ourselves to those around us.

Having power is not for our own good but this power is only important when it sets others free and builds them up. The priestly power that I have is meant for your spiritual growth, the parental power that you have is for the good of your children, the political or the financial power that you have should be for the betterment of those who rely on such power.

The power that Jesus has makes us note that God sees all of us, not just those that the world sees but everyone and that God gives special attention to those whom the world does not want to see. Power makes you see the powerless who have known discomfort for a particular period of time.

The power that Jesus has also reveals who he is, that power describes him and communicates the essence of his commitment and of his life and of his mission.

How did king David use his power against Uriah? How did Potiphar’s wife use her power against Joseph? Joseph used the power that he had not to harm his vulnerable brothers but to treat them well. The rich man had power over Lazarus who used to sit at his gate begging but how did he use it? The Levite and the priest had power over the man who had been attacked by robbers but how did they use it compared to the Samaritan who followed the same route as they did? The servant who had been forgiven by the king did not forgive his fellow servant yet he had the power to do so ( Matthew 18:21-35 ).

All these questions and examples point to the fact that whatever power we have cannot be kept to ourselves but can only be used for the good of all. We all have the Spirit of God in us given during our baptism and confirmation. How well do we use that power? Where in our society do we see the misuse of power or the good use of power? The power of Jesus is useful power.

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