Today’s readings should give us confidence that God, in His love, intends for us to be happy and anoints us with His grace to live and share this happiness. So why do we struggle with doubt and disappointment instead of calling on God to protect us from useless anxiety? We might ask ourselves what are the attitudes or behaviors that prevent us as individuals from accepting God’s anointing. Perhaps we are struggling to fill ourselves with achievements, recognition and security instead of seeking opportunities to serve the brokenhearted or mourning. Perhaps we are so oppressed by worries or twisted by pride that we are blind to the needs and sorrows of others.
The readings also tell us that God has anointed each of us with gifts that we are to share for the good of others. We are called to follow Jesus’ example of humble service and sacrificial love to lift others out of sorrow and hardship. There are countless ways to do this, from small gestures such as a silent prayer for someone experiencing difficulties to large gestures such as service trips. However we must first receive God’s anointing before we can act as an instrument of His healing. The passage from Revelation reminds us of God’s majesty, almost to assure us that this anointing is powerful enough to accomplish all the wonders that are promised.
This theme of God empowering us to bring blessings to others is so important that it was carried from the Old Testament to the New Testament by Jesus himself, with a minor upgrade. In the reading from Isaiah, he announces “a year of favor from the Lord”, while in Luke’s Gospel this sentiment is mirrored with the proclamation of “a year acceptable to the Lord”. We are not only called to receive God’s favor, but turn it into something acceptable to return to God so that others may experience God’s goodness.