4th Sunday in Ordinary Time [b]

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jan 30, 2012

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary reflections for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary time, 2012.

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time [b]
January 29, 2012

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Mark 1:21-28

January 29 – February 5: Catholic Schools Week
January 31: Feast of John Bosco, Patron of Youth & founder of the Salesians
February: African American History Month
February 2:  Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas), also Groundhog Day
February 5: National Day of Prayer for the African American Family
February 5: Super Bowl Sunday


Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds!
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Communications Day 2009

The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community of people united in Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit in their pilgrimage towards the Father's kingdom, bearers of a message of salvation for all of humanity. That is why they cherish a feeling of deep solidarity with the human race and its history.
The Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes

Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as     a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church's mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.
Bishops’ Synod, Justice in the World

Thoughts for your consideration

Jesus is described as one who teaches and speaks “with authority.” 
Jesus is one who can even command evil spirits to depart.
Jesus comes with a clear vision and the courage to speak clearly and boldly.

Such characteristics are essential for any contemporary prophet who will speak to the world a message of justice and peace.  Such characteristics are essential if we are to apply effectively the social teaching of the church to our contemporary world.

The clarity of our vision and how it applies to the world develops out of a real understanding of the situation of the world and its people.  Our church must be connected with the lives of real people, especially those who are struggling or in need or economically poor.  We must come to know one another and learn from our diversity. Otherwise, we cannot be prophetic and speak with authority. 

The power of our preaching must come out of a deep faith in a God who calls us to work for justice, to ask questions and to speak up.  Without the faith that calls us to ask questions, we cannot be prophetic and speak with authority.

In a certain sense, the power of our preaching and actions can perform an “exorcism” on the world, driving out the evil spirits of injustice, poverty, violence, and selfishness and inviting in the good spirits of justice, peace, community and economic well-being for all.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

When have you experienced someone who “taught with authority?”
How did this impact you?
Did this person have a “social – ethical message” that made a difference?


What experiences helped you to connect to people different than yourself?   What experienced help you to be immersed in the world of someone else?  How did help you to understand the gospel in a new way?


"What on earth are you doing?" said I to the monkey when I saw him lift a fish from the water and place it on a tree.

"I am saving it from drowning'," was the reply.

This is from Anthony DeMello’s collection of stories The Song of the Bird.

Actions - Links

Ø    Catholic Relief Services produces which “connects key global issues such as hunger, migration, HIV & AIDS and international poverty to the university classroom and campus.” Catholic Relief Services also produces an action center for people to take online action on issues of global poverty. Find it at:

Ø    The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2012 is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Academics. Service.”  “The annual observance starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week, which in 2012 is January 29 to February 5. For more info go to:

Ø    The fifteenth annual “Gandhi-King-Chavez Season for Nonviolence” is January 30–April 4, 2012. For info go to
“A season for Nonviolence, January 30 - April 4, is a national 64-day educational, media, and grassroots campaign dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform, and empower our lives and our communities. Inspired by the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this international event honors their vision for an empowered, nonviolent world
“Crazy Facts”
The Global Fund for Women reports: “According to the United Nations (pdf), two out of three countries in the world face gender disparities in primary and secondary education. Although the rate worldwide of children not in school has dropped from 100 million in 1999 to 75 million in 2006, girls represent 55% of those not enrolled in school in 2010. This disparity is worse in many countries, such as Benin, India, Iraq and Yemen.”

According to World Education:
·    Women in Sub-Saharan Africa are more than 1.5 times as likely as men to contract HIV.
·    Millions of women in America have difficulty understanding practical health information.
·    More than 10,000 girls a day will get married before they turn 15.
·    More than 60% of the 110 million children out of school are girls.
·    One in three women and girls in the developing world live on less than $2 a day.

Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, bless all those who struggle for justice.
For all those suffering in any way, we pray….
For all those who suffer from poverty, we pray….
For those who have lost jobs or homes, we pray….
For all those denied their basic human rights and dignity, we pray…..
For all those struggling and taking risks to create a world of justice and peace, we pray….
For all those working to create a profound respect for life in all it forms, we pray….
For those promoting the care for the earth as a gift from God to be shared by all, we pray….
For all those speaking out and acting with a passion for nonviolence and peace, we pray….
For all those facing opposition and persecution as they try to live out the values of Christ, we pray…..

Prayer – Meditation

Mother -- Father God:  Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
    Let us hear again the challenge of the great prophets.
        Let us do what is right and love with enthusiasm.

Sophia – Wisdom: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
    Help us to discern the way of peace.
        Help us to discern the way of right action.

God of heaven and earth: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
    Let us hear again the stories of our ancestors in faith.
        Let us create new stories today – stories of faith in action.

God of peace and justice: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
    Help us to listen to the world and the cries of those in need.
        Help us to respond in solidarity with all those in need.

Holy Spirit: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
    Fill us with an enthusiasm and joy for what is right and good.
        Fill us with virtue that we might do what is good for all.

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