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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
1st Reading (Neh 8:2-4a.5-6.8-10): Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, which consisted of men, women, and those children old enough to understand. Standing at one end of the open place that was before the Water Gate, he read out of the book from daybreak till midday, in the presence of the men, the women, and those children old enough to understand; and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law. Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that had been made for the occasion. He opened the scroll so that all the people might see it —for he was standing higher up than any of the people—; and, as he opened it, all the people rose. Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people, their hands raised high, answered, «Amen, amen!». Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the Lord, their faces to the ground.

Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God, interpreting it so that all could understand what was read. Then Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and Ezra the priest-scribe and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all the people: «Today is holy to the Lord your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep» —for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. He said further: «Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our Lord. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the lord must be your strength!».
Responsorial Psalm: 18
R/. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true, all of them just.

Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, o Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
2nd Reading (1Cor 12,12-30): Brothers and sisters: As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Now the body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say, «Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body», it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, «Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body», it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, «I do not need you», nor again the head to the feet, «I do not need you». Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, whereas our more presentable parts do not need this. But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.

If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy. Now you are Christ's body, and individually parts of it. Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
Versicle before the Gospel (Lk 4:18): Alleluia. The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, and to proclaim liberty to captives. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21): 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.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. 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.” Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

“Most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.”

Fr. Bernat GIMENO i Capín (Barcelona, Spain)

Today we begin to hear the voice of Jesus through the evangelist Saint Luke, who will accompany us during this liturgical time. Luke writes his friend Theophilus, so “that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.” (Lk 1:4). If that is why Luke is writing his friend, then we should better start pondering over the importance of the Gospel of our Lord —Word alive! and, therefore, always brand new— every day.

Today, the Word of God introduces Jesus the Master, when “He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all” (Lk 4:15). He begins like any other preacher: reading a fragment of the Scripture, which is being fulfilled at that precise moment... The word of the prophet Isaiah is being fulfilled; even more: all the word, all the content of the Scriptures, all that the prophets had announced is concretized and reaches its fulfillment in Jesus. It is not indifferent to believe or not in Jesus, because it is the same "Spirit of the Lord" who has anointed and sent him over.

Through His Word, God's message is good news to the poor, proclaims liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; frees the oppressed and announces a promise of salvation. It is a message filling with hope all mankind. We, children of God in Christ by virtue of our baptism, have also received his holy anointment to participate in his mission: namely, to bring this message of hope to all mankind.

By mulling over the Gospel that brings consistency to our faith, we can see Jesus preaching in a different way than the other masters: “He taught and his message had authority” (cf. Lk 4:32). This is so because He preached with his deeds, with his example, by giving testimony, even offering his own life for all of us. We are supposed to do the same; we cannot just limit ourselves to words: we need to settle on our love for God and our brothers with our deeds and examples. As a mother trying to guide our steps for that purpose, the Church proposes The Works of Mercy —seven spiritual and seven corporal—, which can indeed be very valuable for us.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

-“For when you direct your whole heart to wisdom, truth, and the contemplation of the only-begotten Son of God, your eyes behold Jesus.” (Origen).

-“In our diversified and distracted time, this Gospel passage invites us to ask ourselves whether we are able to listen. Before we can speak of God and with God we must listen to him.” (Francis).

-“(...) When ‘the poor have the good news preached to them’ (Mt 11:5; cf. Lk 4,18), it is the sign of Christ's presence.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 2443)