Sunday, January 26, 2020

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jan. 26, 2020

The Holy Father has set aside this 3rd  Sunday in Ordinary Time as a day on which we are to celebrate, study, and disseminate the Word of God. Yes, we do that to some extent every Sunday.  But, how much of what we hear or read is really taken in, taken home, and found in some way to relate to our daily lives, internalized?

We need to remember the source of these words.  The Gospel of John  begins “In the beginning was the Word; The Word was in God’s presence and the Word was God.” Sounds complex, but he goes on. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”  This obviously defines the Word as Jesus.  Jesus then passed on to us in the scriptures his teachings and example of how God wants us to live.

The bible we read is a living word of God.  Its lessons are as applicable to our daily lives today as they were when written millennia ago.  Pope Francis, “The bible is the book of God’s people, who, in listening to it, move from dispersion and division towards unity.  The word of God unites believers and makes them one people.” Internalizing the words of scripture will tamp down divisions and arguments whether religious, cultural, economic or political.

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus exemplify our situation today.  They were confused and troubled by what they had seen and heard.  Then Jesus joined them and explained it all,so they could understand.

Today, the message of Jesus gets drowned out in our many divisions over politics, social issues, even the value of human life itself.  To quote a phrase, there is too much fake news being passed around.  Through scripture, Jesus is explaining his message to us continually.  We keep hearing it again every Sunday.  But, do we really listen?

The Reading today from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, “I urge you, Brothers and Sisters, in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.” Maybe we cannot all agree on what we say, but we can agree to listen to one another with respect. Read the Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel – Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who show mercy, the peacemakers.  These teachings do not apply to certain categories of people.  They apply to all regardless of their economic situation, to those on the right as well as to those on the left of the political spectrum, to all regardless of culture or nationality.

Just think for a moment how many of us have become cynical, fearful, not able to trust that what we are told is the truth.  Could it be that all of the progress we have made in communication, social media and entertainment has made us more isolated from each other and our community?  Why is depression epidemic? Why do we keep seeking happiness and contentment, and not finding them, we go on to something else?  It is as if we are running away from what we are afraid will give us that happiness and contentment, assuming we have been exposed to it at some point.  That something can be found in this Sunday’s observance, The Word of God.  It is not easy to lean into the wind of today’s priorities and live by our own. But, that is what Jesus is asking us to do.  It has proven effective for so many people who have lived according to their beliefs.  It takes prayer for the courage to do so.

Our challenge then is to filter out all of the noise that we read and hear and let the Word of God get thru and become habit forming.  We know in our hearts that is the Good News, Not Fake News.

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