In the Gospel according to St. Luke, Jesus, immediately following his baptism and temptation, describes his life’s mission. This is how his initial, public “statement of vocation” is recorded:
“(In the synagogue Jesus) opened the scroll and found the passage which says, ‘The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me; he has sent me to announce good news to the poor, to proclaim release for prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind; to let the broken victims go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ …’Today’, he said, ‘in your very hearing this text has come true.’” (Luke 4:17-21) In an initial interview following her election as Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Shori was asked, “What will be your focus as head of the U.S. Church?” She responded, “Our focus needs to be on feeding people who go to bed hungry, on providing primary education to girls and boys, on healing people with AIDS, on addressing tuberculosis and malaria, on sustainable development. That ought to be the primary focus.” Later in the same interview, she identified her favorite Bible verse: “Chapter 61 of Isaiah is an icon for me of what Christian work should be about. That’s what Jesus reads in his first public act. (The verse) talks about a vision of the reign of God where those who are mourning are comforted where the hungry are fed, where the poor hear good news.”
I am surprised that there is criticism about Ms. Jefferts Shori’s response. Recently I had a conversation with a Bible teacher in our diocese who was incensed that, in his opinion, she did not express the correct “priority”. What do you think? Is her statement of call consistent with the Lord’s, or not?