There are powerful words in today’s reading from Isaiah. These are the same words that Jesus spoke in the synagogue to the elders and priests. When hearing the words, temple leaders thought Jesus was blaspheming Isaiah and were astonished. They did not know that Jesus was the Messiah. They did not know that he was the anointed one and that God had sent (Jesus) to “heal the broken hearted and to proclaim liberty to captives and release to the prisoners.” In other words, Jesus was challenging the local authority and was saying that he had come to do this because he was God and change was needed.
Jesus was saying prophetic words of challenge.
Jesus was speaking his mind in spite of the anger he would be facing.
Jesus was feeling fear because he knew he could be killed.
Jesus, however, was speaking respectfully, calmly, and peacefully.
Isaiah’s words became the words needed to be said. After he said these words, Jesus disappeared into the countryside because he became hunted.
Today and this weekend, we are hearing words spoken by hundreds of thousands of people who are marching in the streets of many, many cities. They are saying that All People are Important. They are saying I Can’t Breathe. People are raising their hands to indicate that they are giving up and do not want to be shot. These people walking in the streets and on the sidewalks have a legitimate right to speak words many believe are true. Because many believe they are speaking words already said by Martin Luther King.
Many of us may be dismayed and angry that seeming many of the protesters are violent, disrupters, and criminals. And yes, some of them were and are. That is not what the vast number of walkers and protesters are. Most want to carry signs, follow police orders, remain non-violent and be heard. They believe that they have the obligation to speak the truth as they see it. Most of them believe that laws have been broken and that some police actions have not been right. The majority think that it is their obligation and right to speak out.
Many people that are marching in the streets are afraid as Jesus was afraid when he spoke out in the temple. Yet they are saying things that take courage and need to be heard by all of us. We do not have to believe all of the things they are saying but we do have to be willing to listen. It may be very hard to listen!! Our minds and hearts will be challenged and we may want to become angry. But listen to Paul in the second reading: He tells us “to pray for justice.” He tells us to “pray without ceasing.” He tells us “to give thanks in all circumstances.” He tells us to “give thanks for this is the will of God for you”
“Do not be afraid of the Spirit!”
Pray for peace and non-violence!!
Pray for the Will of God to move us to right actions
Pray for ways to change systems for peace and justice in the United States and the world.