Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 27, 2013

A Homily - Cycle C - 2012-2013
by Fr. Luke Dundon

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First Reading - Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15
Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 12:12-30
Gospel - Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Written by Luke to explain that
Christ came to save everyone.

Since many have undertaken to complete a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the world 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."

There are three words of recent memory that still stir up the heart once they’re mentioned . . . those words are - - - March for Life.  The March for Life is not simply a title, not simply an event on a schedule, not simply a blip on the news ticker - - - it’s a catalyst for nation.  As it stirs hundred of thousands to come to Washington to march down constitution Avenue, literally cheering and singing the beauty of every human life.  As it stirs MILLIONS of hearts around the nation to support the March through prayer, fasting and penance.  As it stirs so many souls to remember one of our most important gifts, the gift of human life, life which was meant not simply to grow, but life which was meant to find its Creator and LOVE HIM.  March for Life.  Thank God for those worlds.  Thank God also for a few words that the new President, Jeanne Monahan, mentioned before we started marching - - - she said that the Pro-Life culture is “the new normal.”  And as I looked around me on the mall, in the 25-degree heat wave, I SAW that new normal - - - literally thousands and thousands of young people, roughly age 16 to 30, proudly letting the words PRO-LIFE bear fruit from their hearts and flow forth into their world. . . THAT’S what words can do, once they’re proclaimed, and once they’re received.  The Founder of the movement, Nellie Gray, thought that the March would only be a one-time deal.  But those words, “March for Life,”  “Pro-Life,”  “Culture of Life,” struck a chord - - - especially in our young people!  They received the power of those words, they have been ENERGIZED by the power of those words, they have really LISTENED and let those words shape who they are and what they stand for.  It’s nothing short of beautiful!  All that . . . from some words created by one woman.  If that much could happen from the words of one person, imagine what could happen from GOD’S Word?

The Jews from the 1st reading understood this very well, especially after having been in EXILE from their homeland for 50 years.  They had just come back from 50 years of being far away from Judah, far away from home, far away from the altar of sacrifice in the temple.  All they had was the WORD, Holy Scripture, but during that time they developed a new APPRECIATION for the Word - - - and so, as we just heard, they STOOD . . . they LISTENED, the responded and rejoiced in faith - - - Amen!  Praise to you, Lord God!  Sound familiar?  And they listened to this proclamation from daybreak till noon - - - we think the homilies are long TODAY!

But the WORD was SO important to them, for they GOT IT like those young people in D.C., they knew that this Word had POWER, power to liberate, free, to heal, to give LIFE - - - they knew this - - - but over time, they also DOUBTED, always temptation - - - when I was young I used to think that the readings and homily were just the prolonged hype before the Eucharist . . . did those words really have any relevance?  Did all those words have any MEANING once Mass was done?  Could all those words really change ANYTHING?

So Jesus gets up, reads from Isaiah, and, thank you Lord, gives the SHORTEST homily ever - - - “Today these words are fulfilled in your hearing.”  He meant what He said - - - This WORD is FULFILLED, it has given POWER and LIFE - - - once it is HEARD . . . REALLY heard.  People hang onto every word given at the March for Life, because they NEED and yearn for words that remind them of a future worth HOPING IN, words which will bring change, which is now happening!  And so we have a great reminder today - - -words change the world, and GOD’S words can change US, so that WE TOO can discern how we are to build up God’s Kingdom here on earth.  St. Paul mentioned this well, EACH MEMBER is needed to make this Body of Christ thrive - - - it might be tempting to think - - - oh, 500K marchers?  What god could *I* do?  Who am *I* to rally change anything?  Bishop Loverde reminded us - - - if your presence at the March, if your prayers at home during the March, if your prayers NOW can help to SAVE THE LIFE of ONE little child and RESTORE PEACE to his or her mother, then it’s TOTALLY worth it.  Because you CAN make a difference.  Because God’s Word IS ALIVE in you.  For you have RECEIVED that Word, and are now more ALIVE than you have ever been before!  And thank God, we’ve only just BEGUN to live!

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