Homily Third Sunday Year C The Word of God

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Homily: Third Sunday Year C

Reading 1: Background to the reading. The Chosen People have returned to Jerusalem after their exile in Babylon. They began to rebuild the city and the Temple which were destroyed. In the process of restoration, Ezra the priest found scrolls, which were hidden at the time of the exile. The scrolls were the Book of the Law, the Torah. Once he realized what he found—its significance—he told Nehemiah, the governor.

 

They decided that the people needed to hear the Word of the Lord, which would explain their relationship to God as his Chosen People. It would remind them of the necessity of living as a Covenant people. It would explain the reason for their exile. Their ancestors had broken their covenant with God and they were chastised.

 

As Ezra read from the Word of God the people began to weep before the Lord, as they recognized how their ancestors had turned away from the Lord. But Ezra reminded them that they should rejoice because they had found the source of their history and the recollection of God’s love for his Chosen People. He proclaimed that since they are the people chosen by God, they should rejoice for his mercy and love and providential care. Eventually, Ezra will call them to renew their covenant with God publicly. The word of God was proclaimed and its truth was revealed, interpreted and received with rejoicing. Each Sunday we gather to hear the word of God, our salvation history. We are reminded of how God has loved us and has redeemed us, so that we may be truly his people.

 

This Third Sunday of Ordinary Time is annually set aside to focus us on the need, like the people in the reading, to read and study the scriptures regularly. “A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a year-long event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the risen Lord.”

 

How do we receive the word of God? How do we respond to it? Do we allow it to root in our hearts and to bring about growth and bear fruit? Do we stifle the word of God by ignoring it and not acting on it?

 

Gospel: We began with the first four versus of Luke’s Gospel. He states that he wants to write down in an orderly sequence the life and teaching of Jesus, which he has received from eyewitnesses. Then we went to the fourth chapter of Luke which begins the public ministry of Jesus. What was in between was what we have been celebrating during the Advent and Christmas seasons. During that time, we heard of the mysterious announcement of the birth of John the Baptist, the announcement that Mary was to conceive the Savior of the world, her visitation to Elizabeth, the birth of John, the birth of Jesus, the presentation in the Temple, the finding in the Temple, the baptism of Jesus and his temptation in the desert.

 

Now Luke shares about what happened immediately after the baptism and temptation. Jesus began teaching in the anointed power of the Holy Spirit and people were amazed. His reputation begins to spread. He returned to Nazareth. According to his custom, he went to the synagogue with Mary on the Sabbath. They ask him to do the reading. Having had the powerful affirmation of the Father and the Spirit at his baptism, Jesus reads from the prophet Isaiah, where Isaiah had previously prophesied about that event and identified his mission as Messiah.

 

Afterwards, Jesus sat down and, in a matter of fact, said : “Today, this prophesy has been fulfilled in your hearing.” The people heard the word of God, but unlike the first reading, they eventually rejected Jesus. They initially were amazed and then they refused to believe he was anything other than the son of Mary.

 

Reading 2: Paul reminds us who we are in relationship to God—the body of Christ—and who we are in relationship to one another—members of the one Body. He reminds us that it is through Baptism that we entered into a relationship with God and filled with the Holy Spirit. He reminds us that because we are one in Christ, there should be no division or antipathy among us. Rather, we are to be in harmony with one another, following the lead of the Holy Spirt, using his gifts to minister to one another in the service of love. 

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