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Bishop Robert Barron2017
Our second reading today is taken from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians—and it always takes my breath away. He says, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks.” For Paul, the coming of Jesus changed everything. His dying and rising turned everything upside down, so that the usual ways of thinking and acting are not longer valid. Grace has transfigured nature—and the three recommendations he gives are signs of this transfiguration.
Christ proclaims himself as the King of everything. This is a bold claim for it puts everything under him. However, he is a very different King than what we typically expect. So with the arrival of this King, we must change all our expectations.
In our second reading from Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, we hear the strange recommendation to pray always, rejoice in every circumstance, and give thanks at all times. How is this possible? Only when our lives have been radically reconfigured around Jesus Christ.
Our first reading for this Sunday is an especially sacred one in the Christian tradition, for it was precisely this passage from Isaiah that Jesus chose to comment upon when he first rose to speak at the beginning of his public ministry. Using Isaiah's imagery, Jesus spells out for us the meaning and purpose of his work: to heal the brokenhearted, to declare liberty to captives, to announce a year of favor from the Lord.