Jan 26 2020 Reflection
Sunday 26 January 2020
First Reading: IS 8:23—9:3
The Lord is my light and my salvation.
PS 27:1, 4, 13-14
Second Reading: 1 COR 1:10-13, 17
Gospel Reading: MT 4:12-23 OR 4:12-17
Today’s Note: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
On September 30 of last year, Pope Francis issued a letter declaring that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time was to be set aside every year as the “Sunday of the Word of God.” The Holy Father urged pastors to celebrate this day with special homilies, added reverence to the Scriptures in Mass, and by encouraging us to take up the Scriptures anew and find in them the treasures of God’s word for our lives.
In his letter, Pope Francis spoke about how we cannot read the Bible in the same way we read any other book. “Since faith comes from hearing,” he wrote, “and what is heard is based on the word of Christ, believers are bound to listen attentively to the word of the Lord, both in the celebration of the liturgy and in their personal prayer and reflection” (Aperuit Illis, 7).
This “attentive listening” means asking the Holy Spirit, who has inspired the Scriptures, to breathe life into the words we read. It means trying to silence the other voices in our minds and quiet our anxious hearts so that we can hear God’s voice speaking to us. As Pope Francis wrote, “Without the work of the Spirit, there would always be a risk of remaining limited to the written text alone.” But as we take in God’s word prayerfully, it becomes for us “the living word of God, experienced and handed down in the faith of his holy people” (9).
God has a message just for you today, and that message may well be embedded in the readings you will hear at Mass. It will be something personal and inspiring. No one else will hear these readings in exactly the same way that you will. No one else will receive exactly the same message that you will. So practice the attentive listening that Pope Francis described. What is he saying to you? How will the “great light” of God’s word shine in your heart today (Isaiah 9:1)?
“Come, Holy Spirit! Open my ears and my heart to your word today.”