Do the following words from the Bible have only the prophet Isaiah as their subject?
Are they prophetic words that apply to Jesus, the Christ — but to Jesus only?
Or do they apply to you?
“The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners.”
If you are a baptized Christian, and especially if you have also received the Sacrament of Confirmation, then these words of Sacred Scripture are about you. You and I, who profess belief in Jesus Christ, should see ourselves as the subject of Isaiah’s prophecy and do as he foretold, in union with Christ. We are being sent by God to unite in Christ and fulfill His sacred mission.
Bring glad tidings to the poor
It is not only the missionaries, preachers, Deacons, and Religious brothers and sisters who are divinely sent to the impoverished among us to tell them the good news of eternal love. We are called to preach the Gospel and, when necessary, as St. Francis of Assisi said, to use words to do this. Our actions can bring the good news of God’s mercy and love to those who are most desperately in need.
To bring glad tidings to the poor, let us truly celebrate Advent by enabling the impoverished, the marginalized, and the disadvantaged to witness the coming of Christ here and now through the delivery of good and loving gifts in His name. (One practical way to do that can be found HERE, appropriate for Christmas giftgiving.)
Heal the brokenhearted
Because you are a human being living in a world full of human beings, I know that you know of someone who is grieving right now — someone who is morning the death of a loved one or the reality of a terrible diagnosis, or someone who is going through a breakup, marital difficulties, or estrangement from a family member. There is nothing that you or I can do to make the pain go away. Only God can truly heal. But we can strive to be instruments of God’s grace. We can ask God to inspire us and guide us in how to be present to those who are heartbroken, those who need a compassionate ear, words of sympathy, and fervent prayers for healing.
Perhaps, you are the one who are grieving right now. If so, my heart goes out to you. Know that you are in my prayers. Know, also, that you are not alone! Sadly, there are many who are heartbroken in this world. May you find understanding and companionship in your ability to give your own sympathy and loving care to someone else who is also experiencing the same kind of suffering that you are.
In giving, we receive.
Proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners
Are you free? When I ask you that question, are you thinking about whether or not there are people binding you with rules and telling you what to do? The absence of rules and instructions is not freedom. True liberty comes from knowing who you are and why you are.
You exist in order to be loved divinely and to love generously. You are loved by God into existence and you are fulfilled as a human being, you are set free from all earthly limitations, when you let God love you, particularly and personally — and when you let God love through you. Divine love is free and cannot be restrained by the restrictions of this world. Proclaim the liberation that is experienced in knowing, receiving, and sharing God’s love with everyone who is imprisoned behind bars or by drug addiction, or who feels a captive to mental illness, gripping sickness, disability, loneliness, or even coronavirus restrictions.
Many may see me as a prisoner to progressive disease and disability, but I am free. I am free to forgive, to forbear, to appreciate, to wonder joyfully, and to love unconditionally because I know that I’m infinitely and intimately loved by my Creator, by God who holds me eternally in His Sacred Heart. There is nothing that can destroy divine love.
As a writer, I am mindful of the personal relevance of Isaiah’s words in Sacred Scripture. What worth are my written words if they do not, in some small way, speak of the transformative goodness that is found in divine love, bringing glad tidings, healing, and the peace of freedom in Christ to those in need?
We are all in need. And we are all called to give as well as to receive. God has anointed us to bring His love and mercy to suffering humankind — this is our sacred call, as Christians. Through our “yes,” in union with Christ, the gates of heaven open, and justice and praise spring up before all the nations in the hearts of those who receive the good gifts of God.
© 2020 Christina Chase
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.