Third Sunday of Ordinary Time ~ 24 January 2021
This Sunday we celebrate the Word of God that was first promulgated by Pope Francis in 2019, with the intention that the faithful would have an opportunity to rediscover the constant dialogue that God desires to have with his people. The emphasis on the word of God affords the faithful a time to receive nourishment from depths of the scripture, for the word of God is alive and gives life to those who read it with faith. On this particular Sunday we are reminded of the historical and cultural roots of the scriptures and the deep faith history of the Jewish people, which is fulfilled in the coming of the Christ. The coming of Jesus as the Christ and the proclamation of the Gospel was done to bring the nations (us) together with the nation (Israel), God through his Word, Jesus the Christ, desires to draw all peoples to himself.
The word of God is a complete narrative about the Messiah, the Old Testament tells us all about Jesus in a very veiled way, and the New Testament unpacks all the prophecies of his coming laid down in the Old Testament. The scriptures are a love story between God and us, the scriptures are one of the ordinary ways for us to know and grow to love God. God reveals his nature to us over the course of salvation history, gradually building the relationship until Jesus as the incarnate Word of God came to dwell among us, and became like us, in all things except sin (Hebrews 2:17). The Word of God took on our nature so that he could elevate us in his divine nature.
The scriptures are the divinely inspired record of God’s invitation to us to be part of his family. Therefore, reading the scriptures is a way of getting to know the members of your family in Christ. The scriptures are never exhausted as they are a living text, God always desires us to grow closer in our familial bond. Our liturgy refers to the scriptures at every turn, and in the readings of the mass the Church has selected texts that are related in order to shed light on a certain area of the faith.
The gift of faith that God gives to each one of us is a deeply personal gift, and it requires a personal response on our part. We cannot grow in faith for someone else, and someone else cannot grow in faith for us, it is a relationship that we are responsible for. This relationship that God wishes to cultivate with you has no end, as it stems from God’s limitless love for us. God waits for us to come and encounter him in his word. The prayerful practice of Lectio divina is a practical way for you to encounter God in the texts of scripture. This is most easily done by reading a passage of the Gospel accounts, and through the use of your imagination, placing yourself in the story as you slowly read the text over. This is repeated several times for the same text, and in between the time spent prayerfully reading the text you can ask Jesus these questions; where am I in this story? What is happening around me? Why are things unfolding in this way? And, Jesus what do want to tell or show me?
Blessings, Fr Tony King-Archer
Cathedral of St Patrick & St Joseph