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The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 26, 2019

Alleluia, Alleluia.

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

and to proclaim liberty to captives.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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

REFLECTION by Monsignor Joseph Marino

In the three year cycle of readings for Sunday Masses, this year is dedicated to the Gospel according to the Evangelist Luke.  Today we begin at the beginning of the Gospel associated with this Evangelist.  Saint Luke admits that he was not among the eyewitnesses of Jesus’ ministry, but that he was a recipient of what was handed down to us.  Nonetheless, Saint Luke takes what he has diligently acquired about Jesus and undertakes to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us.

Luke addressed his narrative to an aspiring disciple called Theophilus so that (Theophilus) 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, Theophilus means one loved by God.  So, it has been suggested that in addition to Theophilus being an individual he is also representative of all Christians desiring to be disciples loved by God.  Also, Saint Luke gives Theophilus the title of most excellent.  The title suggests that Theophilus was a recognized person who was 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

Throughout the Gospel, Luke stresses the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life and ministry of Jesus.  Therefore, Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to His home-town synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath Day to teach.  There is a pastoral practice 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 knew him as an ordinary kid with no significance.  However, Jesus boldly returned to his former neighbors and proclaimed: Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing!  What strength Jesus possessed 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 that Jesus referenced was from the Prophet IsaiahIsaiah predicted 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 receive the freedom of the children of God … The Messiah would proclaim a Year of Grace, a way of living acceptable to the Lord.  Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing!  

So, on this the Lord’s Day our voices join the testimony of Luke.  We have witnessed in our own lives the freedom that Christ has given us.  Human anxiety has been replaced with confidence in God who loves us.  Because of the grace of Baptism we are no longer blind to the ways of God but we see Jesus as our only way, our only truth, and the only life we want now and forever.  Amen!

Prosit,

Monsignor Joseph Marino

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