3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C (2022): Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Cor 12:12-30; Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Homily Notes for the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C (2022): Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Cor 12:12-30; Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21

·  A few years back Pope Francis decreed this 3rd Sunday of OT to be the Word of God Sunday, in which special emphasis is given to the essential role that the Scriptures play in our life of faith.

·  Hearing the Scriptures proclaimed at the Holy Mass is the pinnacle of our Church’s reverence and respect for the Holy Word of God, but it is hopeful that this is not the only time that we as Catholics have some encounter with the Holy Bible.

·  The challenge for most is finding the way that speaks to us in how to make the Word of God a regular, a hopefully daily, reality in our Christians lives.

·  I would like to share three different ways that you can bring the Bible into your life and home.

·  The first is to consider taking part in the very popular Bible in a Year series by Fr. Mike Schmitz. Consisting of 365 episodes, this popular podcast from Ascension Press will take you from Genesis through to Revelation, offering a short reflection each day to help you understand how the story of salvation unfolds. The great things about this series is you can listen to it anywhere, in the car, while running, on the ski hill or seated at home.

·  It is also beneficial since it helps people navigate the Bible, which is not always the easiest thing to do, as many get lost during their reading of the Old Testament when the focus on temple sacrifice and difficult prophetic oracles can cause people to stop reading the Bible from beginning to end because they lose the narrative thread that starts in Eden and ends with the New Heaven and New Earth at the end of all things.

·   It could be that spending a year going through the Bible may give you a similar experience to what occurred in the time of Nehemiah, when the People of God rejoiced to hear the Word of God again, words they had forgotten and even never heard before. I could be you experience the same, learning stories from scriptures you never knew and revisiting stories and teachings that can help you grow closer to Christ.

·  A second way to experience the scriptures is to undertake an online scripture study, focusing on one particular book of the Bible. Such courses can be found at Formed.Org, of which our parish has a subscription and is free for you to access its content. Studies of one of the Gospels or books of the New Testament can give us better insights into the teachings of Jesus or understand the deep theological musings offered by St. Paul in his many letters.

·  As St. Paul taught the Corinthians, there are many charisms and roles in the church, the Body of Christ, from teachers, to prophets, to evangelists. Taking part in one such scripture study allows you to benefit from some of the finest biblical scholars in our Church today without having to enroll in some theological university, but again from the convenience of your home take part in enriching your understand and appreciation of the scriptures.

·  Finally, a third way to become more familiar with the Word of God is to simply try to spend 5-10 minutes each day reading the scriptures. I would not recommend simply picking up the Bible and reading it at random, though there is nothing wrong with doing so. Rather, a beautiful way to read most of the Bible is to read the readings that are being proclaimed at Mass that day.

·  During the week, this consists of a First Reading, a psalm and a Gospel, and on the weekend the addition of a second reading. If you read these readings of the Mass every day, you will read the vast majority of the Bible over a 3 year period of time!

·  I would suggest beginning by reading through the readings, then focus on a sentence, image, story that really spoke to you. Use your imagination to think what it would have been like to have been in that biblical scene and listen to what your heart is telling about this passage. Then take time to speak about what you feel and have meditated on with God, and see if from this conversation you form some resolution of how to live that day. And then take a moment to be still and let God speak further if He so wills. This is a simple way to spend a few minutes with the bible each day.

·  When my iPhone tells me I spend a certain number of hours each day on screen time, I know that I most certainly have time to pray if I make it a priority. Might Christ inspire us to listen to his voice as he inspired those in Nazareth who listened to him speak so very long ago. May his word of life be fulfilled in our midst as well as we spend time daily encountering him in his life-giving word….