Gospel Reflection: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute



JANUARY 24, 2016

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,

And to proclaim liberty to captives.

Alleluia, Alleluia.


The Gospel of Saint Luke 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.”

The Gospel of the Lord



In the three year cycle of readings for Sunday Mass, this is Year C, and therefore our Gospel reading is taken from the Evangelist Luke.   Saint Luke begins by admitting that he was not among the eyewitnesses of Jesus’ ministry, but that he has been a recipient of what was handed down to us.  Nonetheless, Saint Luke takes what he has been taught about Jesus and undertakes to compile a narrative of the events (of Jesus) that have been fulfilled among us.

Luke addresses his narrative to one he calls Theophilus, so that (he) may realize the certainty of the teachings (he has) received.  In addition to his Gospel, Luke also addresses his Acts of the Apostles to Theophilus. Translated, the name means one loved by God.  So, it has been suggested that Theophilus is merely a general term for all Christians, all those disciples loved by God.  However, Saint Luke gives Theophilus a title, namely most excellent.  The title suggests that Theophilus was a definite person held in high esteem, maybe a Roman official known by both Saint Paul and Luke.  Nevertheless, we know for sure that Luke’s Gospel is proclaimed today for OUR hearing, reflection and embrace!

Like at the Baptism of Jesus, Luke continues to emphasize the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life and ministry of Jesus.  Therefore, in the power of the Spirit Jesus returned to His hometown synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath Day to teach.  There is an unwritten policy in our archdiocese of not assigning a priest to the parish in which he grew up.  The reason is that the parishioners may not respect the priest since they all know him as an ordinary kid with no significance.  However, Jesus boldly returns to his former neighbors and proclaims: Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing!  What strength Jesus possesses to defy common practice, and not allow anything to dissuade Him from proclaiming glad tidings (Gospel) to all who desire the Kingdom of God!

The scripture passage Jesus is referring to is from the Prophet IsaiahIsaiah was prophesying that God would send an anointed one, the Messiah whose words and actions would bring about radical change for good and holiness: the poor would hear glad tidings; those captive would be freed; the blind would see; those oppressed would have the freedom of the children of God … The Messiah is to proclaim a Year of Grace, a way of living acceptable to the Lord!

Now our voices join the voice of Luke.  We have witnessed in our own lives the freedom that Christ has given us.  Human anxiety has been replaced by our confidence in God who loves us.  No longer blind because of Baptismal grace, we see Jesus as our only way, our only truth, and the only life we want now and forever.  Amen!



Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com


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