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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 3rd (C) in Ordinary Time

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 1,1-4;4,14-21): Several people have set themselves to relate the events that have taken place among us, as they were told by the first witnesses who later became ministers of the Word. After I myself had carefully gone over the whole story from the beginning, it seemed right for me to give you, Theophilus, an orderly account, so that your Excellency may know the truth of all you have been taught.

Jesus acted with the power of the Spirit, and on his return to Galilee the news about him spread throughout all that territory. He began teaching in the synagogues of the Jews and everyone praised him. When Jesus came to Nazareth where he had been brought up, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath as He usually did. He stood up to read and they handed him the book of the prophet Isaiah. Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written: «The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and announce the Lord's year of mercy». Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down, while the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then He said to them, «Today these prophetic words come true even as you listen».

«Your Excellency may know the truth of all you have been taught»

Fr. Bernat GIMENO i Capín (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Jesus' voice is brought to us by the evangelist saint Luke who, during this time of the liturgical year belonging to the “C” cycle, will be joining us. Luke writes his friend Theophilus, so that you «may know the truth of all you have been taught» (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 began teaching in the synagogues of the Jews» (Lk 4:15). He stood up, and like any other preacher, started to read a fragment of the Scriptures. A fragment that, precisely then, was accomplished... the great words of prophet Isaiah were being fulfilled; not only: all the words, all the contents of the Scriptures, whatever the prophets had been announcing is now being concreted by reaching its fulfillment in Jesus. It is no longer irrelevant whether to believe or not in Jesus, because it is the “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). Because He preached with his amazing deeds, with his example, by giving testimony and, finally, by offering his own life for all of us. We are supposed to do the same; we cannot just limit ourselves to words: our love for God and our brothers is in bad need of 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.