January 23, 2022

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time C

Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Corinthians 12-12-30, Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21

While most of people remain at home during these cold January days, let’s attend an ancient Jewish prayer service this weekend, courtesy of St. Luke’s Gospel, with, of all surprises, Jesus as the chosen reader of the scriptures! And what does He do? He takes a passage from the prophet Isaiah, reads it for the crowd, and then teaches His hearers that what was promised for so long by the prophets is now fulfilled in Him. It is He whom they have all been waiting for. It is He who unites us into one body. It is He who makes our lives holy. What an extraordinary experience it must have been to hear His voice and witness this event in that synagogue. Now, imagine if we knew that Jesus, “in person,” would be appearing in church this weekend. How many people would be packed inside the building? How many would be standing in the aisles? How many would flock just to get a glimpse of Him? But the truth is, Jesus IS here, “in person.” He is in the community of believers, and the proclamation of the Word of Scripture. But even more clearly, He is personally present in the Eucharist that we share: His Body given for us; His Blood shed for us. He is here. We can see and touch Him. We can receive Him. He gives Himself totally to us out of love. And our lives can be changed in ways we never thought to ask for or even imagine. So, as St. Luke invites us to be part of a long-ago prayer service, Jesus invites us today, in this prayer service of the Eucharistic Liturgy, to have an intimate relationship with Him. The call for us is to invite others into that relationship, bringing them to that same Jesus who inspires and perfects our faith. This is the vocation of every Christian. And it is a wonderful way to live, work and pray!  

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