3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday 27th January: 3rd Sunday of the Year (c).
The first reading is from the Book of Nehemiah. Ezra, the priest, proclaims the Word of God in a powerful manner. The people, reunited after exile, and rebuilding their lives, listen to God’s word as the foundation of their society.
The second reading is from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. It contains St. Paul’s great teaching on the human body as an image of the Church. The different parts and gifts that the believers have are to be used in the Church’s service.
The Gospel is the opening section of St. Luke’s Gospel. The first act of Jesus’ preaching ministry is presented to us a he sets out his Mission.
Monday 28th January: Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Thomas was born near Aquino in Italy in 1225 and died in 1274. He is one of the greatest of the doctors of the Church. He became a Dominican and devoted his life to teaching and preaching but above all, to a theological presentation of the truths of the faith. He studied under St. Albert the Great, taught in the University of Paris and there began his writing career. He produced many books and treatises especially on ‘The Eucharist’ but above all his ‘Summa Theoligica’ is regarded as a foundational work in theology. He is patron saint of scholars, universities and booksellers.
Tuesday 29th January: Tuesday in the 3rd week of the year.
The author stresses that the old sacrifices were imperfect; a pale copy of what real worship ought to be. They could never bring us into a close relationship with God. Christ’s sacrifice was perfect and does this.
Jesus reminds his listeners that anyone who does the will of God can become his brother, sister and mother.
Wednesday 30th January: Wednesday in the 3rd week of the year.
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews continues his reflection on sacrifice. The Jewish priests had to offer sacrifice over and over again because they could not take away sins. Jesus, on the other hand, offered only one sacrifice, an act of perfect obedience. As a result he now sits at the Father’s right hand.
In a strange way today’s parable and explanation from St. Mark’s Gospel need no further discussion. We need to reflect and ask ourselves where we stand.
Thursday 31st January: Memorial of St. John Bosco.
St. John Bosco was born near Turin in Italy in 1815. His mother brought him up from the age of two following on the death of his father. From his early years, he wanted to be a priest and work with homeless boys. Sometime after his ordination, he managed to set up a training school for poor boys. By 1856, there were 150 resident boys, with 4 workshops, a printing press, Latin classes and another 500 children coming in as day students. At first, he had a number of priests helping him on an informal basis. Later he founded a religious order to carry on his work. These became known as the Salesians, after the Patron Saint chosen for them, St. Francis of Sales. John Bosco died in 1863. He is a patron of the young and of teachers.
Friday 1st February: Friday in 3rd week of the year.
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews reflects on how the follower of Christ has already suffered persecution and had to struggle to hold on to the new found faith. He encourages his readers to keep that up and have hope and belief in God’s love for us.
St. Mark recounts some more parables on the perennial problem – how do good and evil exist side by side. It is the harvest on Judgement Day which will give the answer.
Saturday 2nd February: Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
This is a Feast both of Jesus and of his mother, Mary. We commemorate the presentation of Jesus in the temple forty days after his birth ‘in accordance with the law of Moses.’ The Presentation shows us the obedience of Jesus, Mary and Joseph to the law of God given to Israel. The feast is also known as Candlemas when traditionally new candles to be used in the Church’s liturgy, are blessed.
The light of God surrounds us;
The love of God enfolds us
The power of God protects us;
The presence of God watches over us;
Wherever we are,
And all is well.