Greetings on this the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 15; 1 Cor 12:12-30; Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Notes: The Church uses an interesting technique in the gospel portion today.
- Proclaim opening statement of Luke regarding his intention in writing the gospel.
Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings
you have received.
- The gospel proclamation of the words of Jesus:
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life (cf John 6:63c).
After reading the second reading, you should have no doubt any longer as to how important YOU are to the salvation plan of God for all persons. You play a role in responding for yourself and the calling to others for their best end. Not by preaching so much as by example and by compassion and empathy and assistance.
The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
and to proclaim liberty to captives.
Mission and Renewal, not (mere) Habit is the title of this reflection.
Jesus came to Nazareth where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He was intentional about his purpose that day.
By way of the sacred scripture, he applied them to himself.
- Declare his mission (proclaim and fulfill).
- Declare his authority (anointed of Spirit).
- To provide: Glad tidings, Liberty, Recovery, Freedom and Joyful Worship.
Early in the readings of Ordinary Time we have cause for the need for renewal.
To accept once again the mission of Jesus, the authority of Jesus and the objective outcomes desired by the Divine Heart.
- Good News
- and Joyful worship.
This can only happen if we step out of simple habit, a repetition that becomes a mere shadow of its purpose. We are called to enter into the Nazareth moment and to be present with him in the Synagogue.
We are called to enter into the deepest meanings and purpose of his mission.
In a General Audience, Wednesday, 23 September 1998, Pope John Paul II said:
With the eyes of faith we can see history, especially after the coming of Jesus Christ, as totally enveloped and penetrated by the presence of God’s Spirit. It is easy to understand why, today more than ever, the Church feels called to discern the signs of this presence in human history, with which she — in imitation of her Lord — “cherishes a feeling of deep solidarity” (Gaudium et spes, n. 1).
As the first-born among many brethren (cf. Rom 8:29), Christ was the first to overcome in himself the diabolic “temptation” to use worldly means to achieve the coming of God’s kingdom. This happened from the time of the messianic testing in the desert to the sarcastic challenge flung at him as he hung upon the cross: “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Mt 27:40). In the crucified Jesus a kind of transformation and concentration of the signs occurs: he himself is the “sign of God”, especially in the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. To discern the signs of his presence in history, it is necessary to free oneself from every worldly pretense and to welcome the Spirit who “searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Cor 2:10).
Breaking Through – for a way of renewal
So how does one break through mere habit and into mission and renewal?
- Prayer and, if you are able, fasting.
- Sacramental Life, especially Eucharist and Reconciliation for the baptized.
- Scripture, Eucharistic Adoration, and sacred writing.
The Bishops of the USA entered into a period of prayer and reflection after the Communion statement debate. Why? Because in a certain way, the Communion statement mirrored the objectification of the sacred. That by itself could be a scandal which they wanted to avoid!
At a news conference after the meeting, Bishop Andrew Cozzens of St. Paul and Minneapolis was asked how months of apparent divergence ended with a fast, overwhelming vote. Bishops, he said, recognized there is a “great crisis” in people not embracing the Eucharist. “There is great passion to do something. That spurred unity.”
Some bishops said the mood at the five-day meeting was changed by more prayer. The bishops usually end their meeting with prayer but instead began it that way. They also had 24-7 “Eucharistic adoration,” which is when the Communion wafer that Catholicism teaches is Jesus is displayed for prayer, and is attended to day and night.
How will 2022 go for you spiritually?
It depends on how much we are willing to enter the mission and to accept anew the anointing and to be renewed in the Spirit.
Let’s do this!
Peace be with you,