Homily – 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 23, 2022
Today’s Gospel notes an important event in salvation history: Jesus stands in the synagogue in Nazareth (his boyhood home) and reads from the prophet Isaiah about the coming Messiah, Then, Jesus announces himself as the Messiah and he applies the words of scripture to himself:
“The spirit of the Lord has been given to me”
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing”
From this point, Jesus begins his life’s mission: To bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, and sight to the blind.
St. Luke writes these words at the beginning of his Gospel so that the reader “may realize the certainty of the teachings [they] have received.” In other words, to emphasize the authentic importance of what follows.
The Word of God – from the prophetic writings of the Old Testament to the inspiring and challenging writings of the New Testament – must be the center of our lives as we go about doing the will of God.
Word of God Sunday
The Church proclaims today as the Sunday of the Word of God. To emphasize this, we processed into church with the Book of the Gospels and “enthroned” it in a prominent position on the altar. Later in the Mass, all who serve as lectors in our parish will receive a special blessing to encourage them in their continued service. All of this is done to emphasize the centrality of the Word of God in the life of the Church.
• We need the Word of God to guide us in our understanding of God’s plan for us.
• We need the Word of God to give heavenly words to our human emotions and hope in our brokenness.
• We need the Word of God to prepare us to evangelize and share the Good News of Christ with others.
This requires us to spend some time reading, listening, and reflecting on God’s word.
Many Parts, Many Options
Today’s Second Reading (St. Paul to the Corinthians) describes how we are all different parts of the same Body of Christ; and through the Spirit, we are one.
The same is true with the Word of God – there are many ways to access the Word of God (through bible reading, scripture study, listening to podcasts, and other sources). For example: The parish provides free copies of The Word Among Us containing mass readings and reflections (available each month in the vestibule). Each week’s Bulletin contains weekly scriptural reflections (maybe this is something you can review as a family while sharing a meal).
The two important things to remember are:
- The Word of God is at the center of our faith
- We need to keep God as the center of our lives
Keeping God as the center of our lives is the “secret sauce” to helping us fulfill Christ’s mission:
• If we are enriched, we can help overcome poverty.
• If we have clear vision, we can help banish blindness.
• If we exercise our freedom, we can help remove oppression.
I once wrote a song based on a wedding. The song was about how each person (the bride and the groom) sees each other on the day of their wedding. Each, individually, has strong emotions about the wedding event. Each, individually, knows they have found their true love.
But what unites them – and promises them abundant love – is where God is in this relationship. That is made clear when the bride and groom sing together:
You have captured my heart
You have settled my soul
I will love you for as long as I breathe
With you beside me and God as our center
I’m certain this love we both know will overflow
Whether married or single, woman or man, the way to allow God’s grace to “overflow” in your life is to keep God as the center of your life.
One important way of keeping God at the center of your life is with regularly reading, listening, and reflecting on God’s word.
I invite you to take some time this week to sit with your Bible (or other spiritual resource) and reflect on God’s word. Let God capture your heart, settle your soul, and sustain you with overflowing love and grace: Spend time each day resting in the Word of God.
If you would like additional suggestions for Spiritual Resources, you can go to the parish website, or visit my website at http://www.deacondan.com.