Lately, I’ve just been exhausted. Tired beyond belief, the semester is almost over, but i feel as if I’ve come out with more scars and bruises than ever before. It’s almost over, but at what cost? I know that God is faithful, and that we need to have faith in his goodness. But it’s a little bit of a catch 22 that the things you need to be faithful are the very things challenged by the problems you face day to day. The things you need to be strong are the very things made difficult by the problems you face.
Time and again, we are strapped to some irreconcilable grief or evil that afflicts us, and we are sometimes ignored, told to have faith, stop sinning, press through, or just keep on keeping on. These remarks are empty, and filled with vanity, the vanity of self righteousness. What about compassion, what abut binding up the broken hearted? I feel that too many times I have fallen short in realizing that the Spirit of the Lord comes upon me to bind up the broken hearted, to preach liberty to the captives, to preach good news to the poor, and declare the good and acceptable year of The LORD and the day of the vengeance of our God.
The Spirit of The LORD is upon us so that like Jesus we may care for others. When I go through hard times, how often have i sought God’s counsel through his Spirit to come upon me and draw me into serving others and binding up their hearts and in the process my own? I sometimes forget that the Spirit of God comes upon me to help me help myself through helping others.
I have often heard about how the anointing is for personal benefit, which by all means is true. How can anyone who has felt the blessedness of actual grace conveyed either through the Eucharist or in prayer deny the self development and personal benefit of actual grace? However, such grace is not meant to be used only for self, but through self, in relation to others. Grace should inspire me to be aware of theirs and to bind up broken hearts, to reach out to heal, to stand with others and comfort them by the grace that is within my life. The grace conveyed from myself to the other, that is where we connect with each other and relate to each other in Christ by the Spirit.
I confess that I have fallen short in proclaiming liberty to the captives in my own life. I have fallen short and allowed myself to become a captive as well. I have failed to be the voice of liberation and comfort to those who need solidarity and guidance, I have failed to love those near me in the ways they need it most, and failed at being the strong one. I have not lived up to expectations and have not strengthened myself in The LORD, nor have I looked to the presence of God for my guidance and support. I have not led people out of captivity, but have entered into captivity with them and at times found myself trapped in the very darkness that i was trying to bring the light of Christ to.
I have not preached good news to the poor, or at least not often enough. I often find myself isolated, contaminated by my own busy mind and packed schedules. My calendar is often overloaded with time to spare and at the same time packed to the brim with things to do. I have often found myself too preoccupied to live out the solidarity that I preach, too focused on my grades and my classes, or just myself to remember the poor. Sometimes, I myself am one of the poor, forgotten and untouched, isolated and alone, but this should not be impeding me from reaching out to others. The problem is that it is the very issues of life that tend to isolate me from others, I keep myself aloof in order to solve something on my own because there are days I have no one I can trust.
I need to remember the good news myself, keep it in my mind when I am poor, that there is a God in Heaven Who has done the unthinkable. While I was estranged and in pure enmity towards Him, a self declared enemy of God, He chose to adopt me into His family. The good news is that this family will reign over all the earth through the firstborn of many brethren, through the God Man who has been appointed to steer the world towards the recapitulation that God has ordained to be His will from the beginning. The good news is that Jesus Christ is already The LORD of this world, and that His kingdom is spreading through the work of his followers, those being conformed to his image and spreading the light of his image throughout the world by resembling him. The good news is that time is being redeemed by the work of God in time, and that all things are being reconciled to God by Christ and the Spirit.
The good and acceptable year of The LORD is now, it is when we choose to do right in the eyes of God. It is when we are the ones who bring the light of Christ into the darkness in the world. Martin Luther King once said that the good and acceptable year of the Lord is when [people] decide to do right. It is when we decide to bless others, to love our enemies, when we bind up the broken-hearted. These all foreshadow the final acceptable time wherein all things will be reconciled to the triune God in blessed assurance of continued purpose in being created by a loving Creator.
Our Father in Heaven has called us to be His agents, and by His Spirit to have compassion, by His Spirit, to give peace, by the same Holy Spirit to deal justly and establish righteousness. We are fallible and will never simply progress towards this goal in time without God. Creation necessarily depends on its Creator.
Any progress that is to be had will be in individuals dedicating themselves to causes and committed to those causes, forming deep bonds of unity with people and the world around them to accomplish those goals which the Kingdom of God has called us to. More important than anything else is to remember that the Holy Spirit, teaches us to bless others, and to help them, by bringing light into their darkness, but it’s not a quick fix process. I need to remind myself to look to God for strength for the long haul, this is not an easy bake oven or a microwavable situation. I need to inspire those around me, through real commitment to them, not shadows of real compassion.
This is the vengeance of our God, peace that burns chaos, love that dissolves alienation and marginalization, justice that overcomes failure and defeat injustice and scandal, righteousness that reestablishes order, and sets about the restoration of everything.