Local Homilies

23RD JANUARY 2022
3RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C
Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6,8-10; Psalm 19:8,9,10,15; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4,4:14-21
TODAY THIS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE IS FULFILLED
Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio “Aperuit illis”, published on 30 September 2019, declared every third Sunday of the year, as the Sunday for the celebration of the Word of God.
▪In this document, the Pope said, “The relationship between the risen Lord, the community of believers and sacred Scripture is essential to our identity as Christians.” This is why the readings of today show the relationship between Christ and the followers. It was not by coincidence that Jesus chose this scriptural passage, it is to connect the old and the new. Through this He shows that the old points to the new and the new was hidden in the old.
~ Whenever we gather for Eucharistic assembly, we begin with the word of God because of the vital role it plays in our life. This word of God is the Word which became flesh as the Son of God to dwell among us, (c.f. John 1:14). It is through the Word of God that all things were created, (c.f. Colossians 1:16).
~ Whenever the Word of God (Christ) is proclaimed, the heart is renewed and healing is received. This is why when Jesus opened the passage of Isaiah the prophet, the following words were proclaimed: “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.”
~ In these verses, the word of God is fulfilled. What does it mean that the Word of God is being fulfilled? It is because in the person of Jesus Christ, we see the Spirit of God, which is manifested in the gladness we experience when we encounter Jesus; the freedom we encounter through Him by hearing His words.
▪It is where the word of God is proclaimed adequately in reverence for God that we see the desired goal of conversion. This is why “Dei Verbum” n. 12 calls on the interpreter of the gospel to always seek the mind of God. “However, since God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in human fashion, (6) the interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words.”
~ Ezra the priest was seen proclaiming the word of God to the people, who were attentively listening. The people were touched so much that they wept because of their sins. Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
~ When the word of God fails to achieve the above, then it is either the preacher has not spoken what God directed or those the words were addressed to, decided not to give their lives to be touched by it. It was the same human beings that heard Ezra many years ago that we have in our time, the difference is in change of attitude towards the word of God. We are not touched much today by the word of God today, because we are either not open or that those who preach today may not be giving all that God wants them to give in the word of God.
▪Dear friend, where the word of God is alive and active, the community of believers are full of life and joy. The word of God is not a respecter of anyone, even the preacher is not respected. Why do we often feel offended when certain words of God address a particular aspect of our life? Most sometimes instead of putting our lives in order, many cut themselves off from where they will hear the word of God and be touched.
~ St. Paul calls us to remember that no matter how we try to cut ourselves from the body of Christ, it does not stop us from being part of Christ’s body. On a second point, if we begin to live out the word of God, we will understand what we are called to do.
~ God has called us to become parts of His wonderful works in the world. This is why we are all given individual gifts for the good of others. We are not given our individual gifts to become competitors in the body of Christ, rather to become cooperators. Our faith as Christians ought to reflect the fulfilment of the Word of God (Christ). Our Blessed Mother Mary became a beautiful image of the fulfilment of God’s word in her “yes” to the will of God. We pray that she will guide us to Christ.
Happy Sunday of the Word of God
God bless you
Fr Joseph Chukwugozie Ikegbunam