This is the address given by Benedict XVI before the midday Angelus on Sunday 27th January 2013
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today’s liturgy brings together for us two distinct passages of Luke’s Gospel. The first (1:1-4) is the prologue, addressed to a certain “Theophile”; since this name in Greek means “friend of God” we can see in him every believer who opens himself up to God and desires to know the Gospel.
The second passage (4:14-21), instead, presents Jesus who “with the power of the Spirit” enters the synagogue of Nazareth on the Sabbath. As a devout believer the Lord does not neglect the weekly liturgical rhythm and joins the assembly of the people of his town in prayer and listening to the Scriptures. Rite provides for a text of the Torah or the Prophets, followed by commentary. That day Jesus stood up to read and found a passage from the prophet Isaiah that begins thus: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor” (61:1-2). Origen comments: “It is not by chance that he opened the scroll and found the chapter of the reading that prophesizes about him. This too was the work of God’s providence” (Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, 32, 3). In fact, Jesus, having concluded the reading, breaks an attentive silence saying: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). St. Cyril of Alexandria states that the “today,” placed between the first and last coming of Christ, is linked to the believer’s capacity to listen and reform his life (cf.PG 69, 1241). But in a still more radical sense Jesus himself is the “today” of salvation in history because he brings the fullness of redemption. The term “today,” very dear to St. Luke (cf. 19:9, 23:43), brings us to the preferred Christological title of the same evangelist, namely, “savior” (soter). Already in the infancy narratives, it is presented in the words of the angel to the shepherds: “Today, in the city of David, there is born for you a Savior, Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
Dear friends, this passage also addresses us “today.” Above all it makes us think about the way we pass our Sundays, a day of rest and of the family, but first of all a day to dedicate to the Lord, participating in the Eucharist in which we are nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ and by his Word of life. Secondly, in our dispersed and distracted time this Gospel invites us to ask ourselves about our capacity to listen. Before speaking about God and with God we must listen to him, and the Church’s liturgy is the “school” of this listening to the Lord who speaks to us. In the end he tells us that every moment can become a “today” that is propitious for our conversion. Every day (“kathermeran”) can become the today of salvation because salvation is the story that continues for the Church and for each disciple of Christ. This is the Christian sense of “carpe diem” (seize the day): welcome the today in which God calls you to grant you salvation!
May the Virgin Mary always be our model and our guide in knowing how to recognize and welcome, each day of our life, God’s presence, our Savior and that Savior of all humanity.