Thursday, January 10, 2013

Not by Bread Alone

Today’s Gospel reading is:

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

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.
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
– Luke 4:14-22

In light of yesterday’s post on New Big Projects, it is worth remembering that the City of Man could be governed by the most virtuous statesmen according to whatever political program I might care to dream up, and yet without the life-giving breath of the old, old, ever-fresh Big Project of Christ’s Church and His victory on the Cross, the entirely legitimate–but ultimately subordinate–ends of the City of Man, turned into an idol by the “Humanistic idea that man alone is sufficient,” might devolve into something like the dystopia of Monsignor Benson’s alternately prescient and paranoid Lord of the World. Prison reform is important, but we are all captive to sin and death, and Christ, not some politician, is Our Liberator.

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