The Messiah came to save sinners

Friends in Christ, since the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and the wandering state of humanity ever since –
through the centuries, mankind awaited the Messiah who would come.
Today’s gospel presents us with the stirring scene in the synagogue in Nazareth.
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To the people, it was an ordinary day, when Jesus stood up to read. But breaking through the ordinariness, the words they heard were striking. Jesus reads the prophecy about the coming Savior, and then he says: ‘Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing it.’ The people were stunned. Effectively, he has just claimed to be the Messiah.
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Why did the Messiah come? He read it from the scroll:
‘To bring Good News to the poor.
to proclaim liberty to captives
and to let the oppressed go free.’
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He has come to set sinners free from their bondage, from their guilt, from their depression and despair and hopelessness – to bring Good News – ‘you are forgiven, you are free, and you will even conquer death in the resurrection.’
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This is the tender compassion that God has for sinners![i] This is what makes Jesus say that he is a shepherd, seeking the lost sheep. This is what makes him say, that he stands at the door of our heart, and knocks; although driven away from the soul by sin, the Lord does not abandon us, but places himself outside the door of the heart and knocks, awaiting admittance.
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But Christ has a clear motive in forgiving, especially very bad sinners, because once freed from their despair and bondage, they are ever-grateful, and fall in love with God more than could otherwise ever have happened.
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The moment she repented he forgave Mary Magdalene, and changed her into a saint. St. Paul, who was murdering Christians, when forgiven, he poured out his life for Christ. Mary of Egypt, a prostitute, upon meeting the mercy of God, served the Lord with all her heart. Margaret of Cortona who spent many years in sin – his mercy changed her.
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St. Margaret of Cortona one day said, ‘Lord, how is it that you lavish so many graces on me? Have you forgotten the sins I have committed? And God answered: ‘Margaret, do you not know what I told you? When a person repents of their faults and follows me, I no longer remember any sins.’
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Our past sins do not prevent us from becoming saints. Jesus came to bring Good News to we poor sinners, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year of favor of the Lord.

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[i] See also ‘Incarnation, Birth, and Infancy of Jesus Christ, St. Alphonsus, p. 67-71

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