September 23 Gospel Reading

Luke 4:16-22

16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

Cyril of Alexandria in his Commentary on Luke, Homily 12 said:

“Now it was necessary that he should manifest himself to the Israelites and that the mystery of his incarnation should now shine forth to those who did not know him. Now that God the Father had anointed him to save the world, he very wisely orders this also [that his fame should now spread widely]. This favor he grants first to the people of Nazareth, because, humanly speaking, he had grown up among them. Having entered the synagogue, therefore, he takes the book to read. Having opened it, he selects a passage in the Prophets which declares the mystery concerning him. By these words he himself tells us very clearly by the voice of the prophet that he would both be made man and come to save the world. For we affirm that the Son was anointed in no other way than by having become like us according to the flesh and taking our nature. Being at once God and man, he both gives the Spirit to the creation in his divine nature and receives it from God the Father in his human nature. It is he who sanctifies the whole creation, both by shining forth from the Holy Father and by bestowing the Spirit. He himself pours forth his own Spirit on the powers above and on those who recognized his appearing.”

Ambrose in his Exposition on the Gospel of Luke said:

“Scripture speaks of Jesus himself as God and man, perfect in both natures. It speaks of the Father and the Holy Spirit. For the Holy Spirit is shown as Christ’s partner when he descends in bodily shape as a dove on Christ, when the Son of God was baptized in the river, and when the Father spoke from heaven. So what greater testimony to us who are weak than that Christ signified with his own voice that he himself spoke by the prophets.”

Eusebius in Proof of the Gospel wrote:

“He began to preach the gospel to the poor, putting in the forefront of his blessings: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ Yes, he proclaimed forgiveness to those who were hampered by evil spirits and bound for a long time like slaves by demons. He invited all to be free and to escape from the bonds of sin, when he said, ‘Come to me, all you that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.'”

“To the blind he gave sight, giving the power of seeing to those whose bodily vision was destroyed. He showered those in ancient times who were blind in their minds to the truth with the vision of the light of true religion. The prophecy before us shows it to be essential that Christ himself should be the originator and leader of the gospel activity. The same prophet foretells that after him his own disciples should be ministers of the same system. ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that bring good tidings of good things, and of those that bring good tidings of peace.'”

“Here he says very particularly that it is the feet of those who publish the good news of Christ that are beautiful. For how could they not be beautiful, which in so small, so short a time have run over the whole earth and filled every place with the holy teaching about the Savior of the world?”

St. John Chrysostom in his Homily XIX on Matthew 6 said:

“If nothing else, surely for our disrespectfulness here we are worthy of undergoing the utmost punishment. For when prophets are chanting, and apostles singing hymns, and God is discoursing, we wander outside, and bring in upon us turmoil of world business. And we do not afford to the laws of God even such stillness as the spectators in the theaters allow to emperors’ letters, by keeping silence for them …But here, when the letters from heaven are being read, great is the confusion on all sides. And yet both He who sent the letters is much greater than this our king, and the assembly more venerable…. Wherefore not only men, but angels and archangels, both the nations and heaven, and all we on the earth, are commanded to give praise. For it is said, ‘Bless the Lord all His works’…

“These things the prophets proclaim every day, each of them in a different way publishing this glorious triumph. One says, ‘You have gone up on high, You have led captivity captive, and have received gifts among men’ …For indeed to this purpose He came, that He might ‘preach deliverance to captives, and recovery of sight to the blind’…Another calls on Jerusalem, saying, ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, for lo! your King is coming to you meek, riding on an ass, and a young colt’…And yet another, amazed at such things, said, ‘This is our God; there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him’ (Zech. 9:9). Nevertheless, while these and many more sayings are being uttered, while we ought to tremble, and not so much as account ourselves to be on the earth, still, as though in the midst of a forum, we make an uproar and disturbance, and spend the whole time of our solemn assembly in discoursing of things which are nothing to us.”

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