Saturday, November 3, 2018
When Jesus came to his hometown of Nazareth, He went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was His custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” – Luke 4:16-21
One of those most dramatic moments in the Gospel story … Christ’s accepting the call of Isaiah. He is given the scroll by the keeper of the scrolls; He unrolls the scroll; He picks up the pointer known as the “yad”; and reads the prophetic words of Isaiah. And when the hush is at its climax Christ announces … “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
I personally believe we would have a truer understanding of scripture if they still were written on scrolls rather than compiled in one book as most of us have today. I think we would cherish how each scroll was entity in itself. Each scroll containing the words of a uniquely inspired writer. Each scroll speaking in the context of a specific time. Each scroll with its blend of that author and the Lord. Each scroll a message in itself.
I believe Christ also by his own words and example teaches us about the full process of inspiration. The words are written by one who listens for the voice of the Lord. The words are read by one who seeks to bring those words back to life. The words are heard and taken to heart by those who listen to those words as they come alive once again. The full inspiration is much more than the ink on the paper sitting on a shelf. It is the flow of the one who first listened who then placed ink on parchment leading to the bringing back to life that voice in its later oral reading which is then heard by yet another listener.
And when the community of God’s people come to believe the words such as the words of the prophet Isaiah, those words they are coming into their fulfillment right there in the midst of the people in the mystery of that Moment.
But alas … too many places have lost the drama of the bringing to life the words on a scroll.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz