In today’s first reading from Leviticus 25, we read about the jubilee. More on that in a moment. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 14, we read the story of the beheading of John the Baptist. John wasn’t afraid to tell even the king that he was doing wrong. Unfortunately, it cost him his head.
In 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed a year of jubilee. There were many special celebrations and indulgences. This wasn’t something that John Paul the Great invented. The jubilee goes back to very ancient times. And today’s first reading tells us the things that would happen in jubilee years, every 50 years. Slaves were to be set free, fields to be left fallow, and family lands to be reclaimed. Sounds great, huh? Unfortunately, the people weren’t so great at following all these precepts.
The concept of a jubilee is great. In fact, wouldn’t it be nice if every year was a jubilee year, every day a jubilee day. Though that may not be the case for the universal Church, I think it can be the case for each of us in our own lives. Setting slaves free – not bearing grudges or holding others emotionally hostage. Offering forgiveness. Giving generously. Hmm…come to think of it, that the gospel message, isn’t it?
Father, help us to make each day a jubilee. As you forgive our debts and set us free from our bondage, help us to do the same for others. Amen.