Windows of Salvation – The Scroll of Isaiah
You can tell a lot about someone from what’s on their bookshelf. From time to time, I will go to various antique stores in the area, whether to look for things for the parish or myself, and I’ll find myself intrigued by the bookshelves, seeing the wide variety of old books that are for sale. Many times, these books come from the homes of a deceased person whose family is trying to clean out their home. Sometimes I’ll catch myself imagining what that person must have been like with books such as these. The shelf full of travelling books and language skills books belonged to a globetrotter who traveled the world with their spouse. The manuals of physiology and biology maybe belonged to a doctor or scientific professional who has been interested in this sort of thing since they dissected their first frog in middle school. The collections of worn hand missals and prayer books belonged to a faithful soul who used to bring them to Mass each day at the church down the street. You can definitely tell a lot about a person by what they have on their bookshelf, or at least you can imagine.
This is particularly true about Jesus though. Today’s window depicts a scroll of the Prophet Isaiah, recalling the episode at the beginning of Luke’s Gospel where he returns to Nazareth to the synagogue where he grew up, and reads a passage in front of everyone. This wasn’t just any passage though, it was the prophecy of the Messiah: “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.”
The passage speaks of the Messiah, and by reading this, Jesus is revealing to his onlookers and to all of us what his mission is: freedom, joy, and hope. He is the Christ, the Anointed One. Just as in ancient Israel, priests, prophets, and kings were anointed for mission, so now Jesus is anointed by the Holy Spirit to sanctify, preach, and order things to the Father. We know how he will do this: by healing the sick, by forgiving sins, by preaching monumental teachings from a mountain or a boat, and ultimately, by suffering, dying, and rising for our sake.
The crazy thing is that when we were baptized, we were anointed in the same way! Each of us were anointed with the Oil of Sacred Chrism as priests, prophets, and kings, and given that same mission that Jesus read about from the scroll. God calls each of us by baptism to bring glad tidings to the poor by being joyful witnesses of his love for people who have joy as the last thing on their minds. We’re called to proclaim liberty to captives by living out the teachings of the Church which aren’t there to restrict us but to let us live in freedom with God. We are called to proclaim that year acceptable to the Lord by putting him at the heart of everything we do, whether it’s work around the house or going to a ballgame in the summer. We are called to be “other Christs!”
You are the one, Lord Jesus, that we have been waiting for, and we need no other. We pray for those who do not yet believe in you, and we ask that you strengthen us to accomplish your mission in the world!