3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 27, 2019 – Year C

Your Word: Joy of My Heart

– Light to My Feet

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

 

Introduction

 

The God of Israel “speaks and it is done” (Ps 33:9). The idols of the pagans instead “have mouths but do not speak” (Ps 115:5). For this they are unable to help, to protect, to perform miracles. The word of man may be far-fetched (Job16:3); that of God is instead always “living and effective” (Heb 4:12). It is like “the rain and the snow that come down from heaven and do not return without watering the earth, making it bring forth and sprout” (Is 55:10).

 

It does not act in a magical way, however, it is equipped with an irresistible energy and, when it falls on fertile ground when it is accepted with faith, it produces extraordinary effects. “Truly blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it as well” (Lk 11:28). The privileged place for this hearing is the community meeting.

 

In the “day of the Lord,” the Risen One addresses his word to the assembled community. The Christian who does not feel the inner need to join with the brothers and sisters to listen to the voice of the Master can be certain: something has cracked in his relationship with Christ.

 

Already in the early centuries, the reminder was repeated insistently: “Do not let the need of your temporal life precede the word of God, but on Sunday, putting aside everything, hurry to the church. Indeed, what justification can be submitted to God by one who does not go on this day in the meeting to hear the word of salvation?” (Caption, II, 59.2-3).

 

If among the faithful indifference, disaffection, listlessness in attendance at the Sunday assembly have infiltrated, this should not be attributed only to the laity. Some improvised, low in spiritual content, tedious and sometimes even depressing homilies also have their share of responsibility. Today’s readings invite all to reflect and review their own relationship with the Word of God.

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:

“Lamp to my feet your word and a light to my path.”

 

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Presentation of the Lord – February 2 – Year C

All were waiting for Him—

Only Anna and Simeon Recognized Him

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

 

Introduction

 

Forty days have passed since Christmas and—perhaps with a bit of nostalgia—we remember the emotions aroused in us by that feast and, even more, the good news that the baby brought us, a star coming from Heaven to illuminate our nights, “rising Sun, shining on those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Lk 1:78-79). Why does the Church today make us contemplate again that child? 

 

The feast of the Presentation of the Lord has very ancient origins. It was already celebrated in the East in the fourth century with the name of the Feast of Encounter: it recalled the encounter of Jesus in the temple with his Father and with Simeon and Anna—representatives of the rest of Israel who remained faithful to the God of Abraham. 

 

It was introduced in Rome in the seventh century and received the title of Feast of the purification of Mary. It was called ‘Candlemas’ since it was characterized by a night procession with candles. 

 

The rite of light connected it with Christmas—the feast of Christ—the light. In Bethlehem, the glory of the Lord wrapped the shepherds in light. In the Far Eastern countries the star shone for the magi; in the temple of Jerusalem the “Light to enlighten the people” appeared.  

 

Forty days have passed since Christmas and it may be that the Star of Bethlehem that “we have seen in its rising,” has been a bit blurred. It does not fascinate us more as then or is no longer the only one to get our attention. Perhaps we’ve let ourselves be enchanted by other more striking and concrete stars, by other stars that better reflect our dreams and our expectations. That’s why the church makes us meet again that Child: she invites us to welcome him in our arms, as did Simeon and Anna, the poor of Israel, the people attentive to the voice of the Spirit.

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:

“The lights of this world are ephemeral. Jesus is the ‘light of the nation’.”

 

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4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 3, 2019 – Year C

The Prophet:  An Uncomfortable Person

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

 

Introduction

 

There are unexpected and unintended tribulations, but there are others that are the result of choices made. The price to pay for those who agree to carry out the difficult and unrewarding mission of the prophet is persecution. Even the nicest people, when they are interpreters of the message of heaven, though it may seem strange, can become irritating, annoying, unbearable, and be marginalized. The prophet is never praised for long by the crowds and still less by those in power, both political and religious. At first, he can also be appreciated for his preparation, intelligence, moral integrity, but soon he is looked upon with suspicion, opposed, and persecuted.

 

Jesus has not deceived his followers; he did not promise an easy life. He did not guarantee the approval and consent of people. He insistently reiterated that adhering to him would entail persecution: “A student is not above his teacher, not a slave above his master… . If the head of the family has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of the family” (Mt 10:24-25). “Still more—he added—the hour is coming when anyone who kills you will claim to be serving God” (Jn 16:2).

 

Regretfully recalling his past, Paul will acknowledge: “I do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God” (1 Cor 15:9). However, he will also declare to have done it, “moved with zeal” (Phil 3:6), convinced to defend God and the true religion. It could happen again today.

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:

“You, Lord, are my hope, my trust from my youth.”

 

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5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 10, 2019 – Year C

We Bring a Great Treasure

in Earthen Vessel

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles

commenting on today’s Gospel reading:

 

Introduction

 

Today’s readings present some characters who are called to carry out a mission of proclaiming the Word of God. They all have the same reaction: they feel unworthy, incapable, inadequate. Isaiah declares to be a man of unclean lips. Peter asks Jesus to turn away from him because he knows he is a sinner. Paul says that the Risen One was manifested to him, but “as to an abortion,” that is, as an imperfect being, one born abnormally.

 

The list of statements of unworthiness could continue with the objections of Jeremiah: “Ah, Lord God, I do not know how to speak. I am still young” (Jer 1:6) and Moses: “But, my Lord, never have I been a fluent speaker. I cannot find words to express what I want to say” (Ex 4:10). Vocations to announce the Word of God today are those of the permanent deacon, catechist, and the animator of the listening centers.

 

There’s also—it is true—one who oblivious to his own limitations, feels too sure of himself. But most people, aware of their miseries, jeer; they say they are not up to the task that is required of them. The lack of preparation is not a good reason to hold back. Study, regular participation in biblical and pastoral courses, the setting up of a small theological library can supply what’s lacking. The perception instead of one’s spiritual inadequacy must be overcome bearing in mind the work of God. He purifies his prophets and apostles and enables them to proclaim his message.

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:

 “Purify, Lord, my heart and my lips, so that I may announce your Gospel.”

 

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