Editor’s Note: With so many churches in our area having to suspend worship services during the coronavirus pandemic, we are asking local pastors to partner with us in bringing a daily message of hope and comfort to readers during this difficult time.
In the fourth chapter of Luke’s Gospel, we are told that our Lord goes to his home synagogue at Nazareth. There he reads the following 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.
Then, Jesus says, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
It is easy to tear down. It does not take much courage nor intelligence nor faith to tear down. We have witnessed a lot of tearing down in our nation this past year — even in addition to all that COVID has torn down. It is easy to tear down. It is not easy to build. To build takes intelligence. To build takes courage. To build takes perseverance and faith in God, oneself and one’s neighbor.
During his public ministry, our Lord dismantled the structures of sin in our world and — importantly — he did it by building the Kingdom. ... bring glad tidings … proclaim liberty … let the oppressed go free … proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Yes, our Lord certainly called sinners to repentance and he cleansed the temple, but the foundational mission our Lord came to inaugurate was to usher in and build the Kingdom of God. “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
In light of all that has occurred within our nation this past year and what has occurred even in our nation’s capital, it is time to forswear the easy work of tearing down and to begin the hard and mature work of building.
Build true civic engagement and responsibility. Build systems of justice and mercy that strive to right injustices for all persons who are oppressed. Build and fortify true community. Bring the glad tidings of education and the awareness of the dignity of every man, woman and child. Proclaim a true liberty built not on bias, fear and conspiracy theories but on truth, honesty and reality.
It is easy to tear down. It takes work to build. May God bless our nation in the continuing work of building a more perfect union and may God bless us in the sacred task of helping to build his Kingdom.
Father Michael Cummins is pastor of St. Dominic Catholic Parish in Kingsport.