Third Sunday in Ordinary time, Year C, 23/01/2022 Lk 1,1-4; 4,14-21
“Your words are spirit, Lord and they are life”.
We are on the third Sunday in Ordinary Time. This year, we will hear the Gospel of Saint Luke who was a Greek doctor and disciple of Saint Paul. In the Gospel of Saint Luke Jesus appears as a healer of body and soul.
Pope Francis announced that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time would be celebrated as the Sunday of the Word of God. He wants to remind Catholics of the importance of knowing Scripture "The Word that saves does not go looking for well-preserved, clean, safe places. It comes into our complexities, into our darkness. Today, as then, God desires to visit those places where we think He doesn't go." The word of God should be alive and active in our life.
In today's Gospel, the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, We have heard that Jesus is in his hometown of Nazareth, attending the synagogue on the Sabbath. Taking the scroll handed to him; it contains the words of the prophet Isaiah about himself. He then said, “ Today this text is being fulfilled as you listen”. It is today, this moment the words you have heard are fulfilled. The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us Jn 1,14. It was true the time of Jesus. It is true today for us. It is today the word to be fulfilled and changed our life. However, a life of following Jesus is a risky life as he said “ Foxes have their dens, birds of the air have their nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head” Mt 8,20.
Saint Paul said in the letter to the Hebrews “ for the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart” Hb 4,12. We all know that as Christian, we are called to hear the word of God and put it into practice. In some way, it should become our flesh. We are also called to spread the word of God to the world. But it is not that easy. Firstly is to hear and accept it, then say it. As we have heard in the Bible about the vocational stories of the prophets. Everyone is afraid of it. As Moses tried to convince God that he didn’t speak very well. Jeremiah complained that he was too young. When he brought the message of God to his people. He was threatened with death many times, thrown into prison to exile in Egypt… Following Jesus, doing his will is to take our daily cross and follow him.
We have heard in the First Reading (Nehemiah 8:2-6, 8-10) people gathered to listen attentively to the Book of the Law…After years in exile, God’s chosen people finally gathered together to hear the words of God. They are too happy, even some of them are crying. The words of God touched their heart. The words of God are life for the chosen people.
Words are double-edged swords. Words can inspire. Words can uplift spirits. But words can hurt as well. Have you ever felt so happy after someone said something positive about you and you felt you could do anything in the world? And have you ever felt so lousy about yourself that you thought you should just die and disappear from this world?
In the Solomon Islands of the Pacific, the islanders practice a special form of curse magic. If a tree needs to be cut down and it is too big to be chopped down, the Islanders come to curse negatively and yell at the tree, after about 30 days of getting cursed the tree dies off and falls to the ground. We also hear in the Gospel of St Mark 11and St Mathew 21 Jesus cursed the fig tree when he cannot find its fruits. And the tree is dead.
Saint Luke wrote this Gospel for Theophilus, the name "θεόφιλος" means friend of God or (be)loved by God or loving God in the Greek language. He also wrote this Gospel for us the friend of God. May the word of God become the guidance and purpose of our life. May we use it to build a community of love as we are all members of his body though we are different. May we can say “ Your Words are spirit, Lord and they are life”