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Friends, in today’s Gospel, on his return to Nazareth, the Lord identifies himself as a prophet. Jesus is not just one more in a long line of prophets but rather the personal and perfect embodiment of the transformative speech of God. As Pope Benedict XVI puts it in Verbum Domini, “Now the word is not simply audible; not only does it have a voice, now the word has a face, one which we can see: that of Jesus of Nazareth.”

Therefore, we are not surprised that the Gospels consistently portray Jesus’ words as irresistibly powerful. At the tomb of his friend, “he cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’” and “the dead man came out.” Precisely because Jesus is the divine Word, what he says is. Origen of Alexandria said that just as all of Jesus’ acts were like words, so all his words were like acts.

The Church, which is Jesus’ Mystical Body, is the privileged bearer of his Word to the world down through the ages until the Lord returns. This is why the Church continues to unleash transformative power.