The 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 23, 2022
Lectionary Readings: Neh. 8:2-6. 8-10; Ps. 19:8-10.15; 1 Cor.12:12-30; Lk. 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Theme: Job description in ordinary time
Today we begin with Ezra, the scribe, who stands up before all the people with the scroll of the law and reads to those gathered, “men, women, and those children old enough to understand.” There is such excitement as Nehemiah, the prophet, calls the people who are weeping at the words of the law to celebrate on hearing how the LORD strengthens all and how they must share with those in need. The words of Psalm 19 refresh their spirits with rejoicing in Adonai who offers wisdom, truth, and justice to the people. Adonai is their rock and redeemer. Paul’s letter indicates the importance of the “church” coming together as an assembly, to be refocused, empowered, renewed, nourished, and fed. We become the Body of Christ going forth as the People of God to serve others and share the good news of Christ with all we meet. At the beginning of Luke’s gospel, the writer investigates the words of eyewitnesses to record carefully the life and ministry of Jesus that have been orally shared over time. The second part of the passage refers to Jesus’ “job description.” Jesus, the young carpenter from Nazareth, returns to his hometown after being away for a time and goes to the synagogue as he normally would on the Sabbath. He reads the words of the great prophet, Isaiah, and he shares that he is the one identified by this proclamation. Jesus understands Isaiah’s calling as his “job description.” The villagers present were surprised and in disbelief that their local boy would declare he was the one to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy.
Each of these readings sets the stage for “Ordinary Time,” in which we spend the majority of our lives. While we make time to celebrate life events (births, deaths, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, job offers, and retirement), most days are spent in daily patterns involving school, work, stores, and appointments. Daily excitement varies depending on our attitudes and abilities. And yet, by Baptism, we are anointed as Jesus was; we share the same “job description.” We too are called to lift up the poor and to work for the rights and freedom of those oppressed in our own country and around the world. We need eyes that see those who are living in oppressive situations, and we must find ways to help them enjoy the freedom of all God’s children. As People of God, we are called to rise above the prejudices and negativity to benefit those most in need. We, too, are called to lift up others and help them find decent homes, schools, and employment that offer hope and a renewed sense of their goodness and worth as part of the Body of God. Over and over we see God loving us into loving one another. This New Year may have “ordinary” days that offer extraordinary opportunities to bring life, joy, peace, and justice that are needed on our tiny planet. “We are part of a worldwide community – past, present, and future. We are called to affirm the Truth that: No one travels to God alone” ( Bausch p. 135).
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. How do I fulfill my “job description” as a Christian, especially in response to the challenges facing our present realities in church and society? 2. How can I be more welcoming to those who feel “outside” the Body of Christ?
Bibliography:Bausch, William, J. Hungry, and You Fed Me:Homilies & Reflections for CycleC, Clear Vision Publishing, 2012, pp. 209-212.
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Mary Louise Chesley-Cora, Hockessin, DE, USA, Bat Kol alumna 2001