Jesus Christ was the most beautiful person who ever walked the face of the earth.

Do you appreciate Him? Or, better yet, how much do you appreciate Him? This second question is more realistic and more to the point. It is easy for us to become familiar with Jesus and with His Gospel stories and feel we know Him. It is also easy for us to presume upon Jesus and take Him for granted. The story from Luke’s Gospel this Sunday provides an opportunity for us to renew our sense of awe and appreciation for the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Lord of life who sits at the right hand of the Father.

Jesus entered the Temple and read the beautiful passage from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Isaiah 61: 1 – 2). Jesus claims this mantle of redemption: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing” Luke 4: 21).

At first the people are impressed and amazed. But then they start to question Jesus to one another: “Is this not the Son of Joseph?” (Luke 4: 23). They think they know Jesus. Their familiarity with Him as Joseph’s son interferes with their ability to truly appreciate Him at this moment in the Temple.
Are we not tempted to do the same? Does hearing Gospel passages year after year dull our senses and diminish our appreciation? Do we not try to fit Jesus into categories that we find acceptable? In effect, do we not cut Jesus down to size, a size that fits our limited human perspective?

As we return to ordinary time and approach the season of Lent, why not take some time to approach Jesus with open eyes and an open heart? Why not be surprised by grace? Jesus Christ was the most beautiful person who ever walked the face of the earth. We will never fully understand Him. There will always be more about the mystery of this person who is both God and man for us to appreciate. Let us allow Christ to be Christ and to stand in appreciate awe before Him

Rev. James M. McNamara

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