Lectionary Reflections: Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c] February 3, 2013 Readings

Engaging Faith | Fri, Jan 25, 2013

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary Reflections: Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]  February 3, 2013


Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19

1 Corinthians 12:31--13:13 or 1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Luke 4:21-30


January 31 - February 6: Catholic Schools Week

February: African American History Month

February 2: Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas)

February 3: Super Bowl Sunday

February 3: National Day of Prayer for the African American Family


"Charity will never be true charity unless it takes justice into account ... Let no one attempt with small gifts of charity to exempt themselves from the great duties imposed by justice."

- Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, 49

There were those who presumed to accuse the Church of taking no interest in social matters other than to preach resignation to the poor and generosity to the rich, but Leo XIII had no hesitation in proclaiming and defending the legitimate rights of the workers. As he said at the beginning of his exposition of the principles and precepts of the Church in social matters: "We approach the subject with confidence, and in the exercise of the rights which manifestly appertain to Us, for no practical solution of this question will be found apart from the counsel of religion and of the Church."

- Blessed John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, 16

The person who is "light in the Lord" and who walks as a "child of the light" has a sure grasp of the fundamental demands of justice in all life's difficulties and complexities, obscured though they may be by so much individual, national and racial selfishness.  …  Animated, too, by the charity of Christ, a human person finds it impossible not to love his fellow human beings. He makes his own their needs, their sufferings and their joys. There is a sureness of touch in all his activity in every field. It is energetic, generous and considerate. For "charity is patient, is kind; charity envies not, deals not perversely, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeks not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

-Blessed John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, 257

The denial of God distorts the freedom of the human person, yet it also devastates creation. It follows that the protection of creation is not principally a response to an aesthetic need, but much more to a moral need, in as much as nature expresses a plan of love and truth which is prior to us and which comes from God.

-Blessed John XXIII, address to diplomats, 11 January 2010

Thoughts for your consideration

From the perspective of the social teaching of the church, at least three themes seem to emerge from the scriptures today.

1. The word of God will indeed get us into trouble. It will challenge the way we look at everything.  It may invite us to challenge the values of our culture. It will move us to take positions on issues that are important to the people.  It will call us into action for justice. Not everyone will like what we say and do. This was the experience of Jeremiah and of Jesus. It may be our experience as we try to live the gospel and speak and act for justice and peace and as we get involved in the difficult issues of our world.

2. The great hymn to love in Corinthians must not be read only from the point of view of a nice sentiment or an emotional feeling, but as a challenge to transcend self and to confront the broader issues of justice and peace. The call of Jesus involves more than acts of charity or gift giving, but also the transformation of relationships and the works of justice.   We are invited to read the characteristics of love from the point of view of social interaction and justice in social structures, not just from the point of view of personal piety.

3. God is in charge and will protect and bless the one who is faithful to the message. God was ultimately faithful to Jeremiah or Jesus. As the first reading from Jeremiah concludes: “They will fight against you but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.” So, don’t be afraid of the challenge of God’s message. You’ll be OK. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus simply and courageously walks away from the crowd and continues his ministry.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

When has your love been reflected in gift giving to someone in need?

When has your love moved into a “relationship” with the other?

When has your love moved you to challenge the structures of society or church or your own way of thinking?


There seems to be a long history of good religious people being silenced for what they believe from Jeremiah even to Jesus.  Have you experienced this reality?  Have you seen good people of faith being silenced in our time?


To a disciple who was always at his prayers the Master said, "When will you stop leaning on God and stand on your own two feet"?

The disciple was astonished. "But you are the one who taught us to look on God as Father"!

"When will you learn that a father isn't someone you can lean on but someone who rids you of your tendency to lean"?

A disciple was one day recalling how Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed were branded as rebels and heretics by their contemporaries. Said the Master, "Nobody can be said to have attained the pinnacle of Truth until a thousand sincere people have denounced him for blasphemy".

Actions – Links

Ignatian Family Advocacy Month
“The Ignatian Family Advocacy Month (IFAM) invites institutions and individuals across the country to rally their voices in advocating for humane immigration reform, sustainable environmental policies, and policies that alleviate domestic poverty through in-district visits with legislators during the month of February 2013. We hope you will take part in this groundbreaking collaborative effort, which will bring together individuals from Jesuit parishes, high schools, universities, and ministries in standing for justice.”

Get info at

Watch the YouTube video at

The Pew Environment Group, one of the Pew Charitable Trusts, works “… globally to establish pragmatic, science-based policies that protect our oceans, preserve our wildlands and promote the clean energy economy.” They invite citizen actions on various issues at

Jobs not Wars
“Jobs-Not-Wars is a time-limited petition campaign to urge the president and congress to abandon austerity solutions to the deficit and instead to end the war, cut military spending, tax the super-rich, and redirect resources to restore and protect the social safety net, create jobs, deal with climate change and meet other urgent social needs.”

“Crazy facts”

In the United States, “…. people born poor are three times as likely not to finish high school. Only 8 percent of children born into poverty graduate from college by the age of 25.”

Prayers of Intercession

Response: God of love, lead us on the road to justice.

For wisdom for all of us as we confront injustice and don’t know what to do, we pray….

For all those who experience opposition as they speak up and act up for justice, we pray….

For a special courage and wisdom as we discern what to do to bring peace to the troubled places of our world, we pray….

For the ability to listen and learn from one another as we try to work together for the common good, we pray….

For our children, that we may know how to teach the ways of peace and justice, we pray….

For our church that we may become “love in action” and speak up for justice for all, we pray….


Prayer for Justice

Father, you have given all peoples one common origin.

It is your will that they be gathered together

as one family in yourself.

Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love

and with the desire to ensure justice for all.

By sharing the good things you give us,

may we secure an equality for all

our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

May there be an end to division, strife and war.

May there be a dawning of a truly human society

built on love and peace.

We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.


Prayer - Meditation

Based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The Scriptures say “Love is patient.”

    God, how can I be patient when I experience injustice?

        God, teach me to patient without being silent or inactive.

The Scriptures say “Love is kind.”

    God, how can I be kind as I confront what is evil?”

        God, teach me to love my enemy.

The Scriptures say “Love is not jealous.”

    God, how can I not be jealous of those who have so much wealth or power or control?

        God, teach me to keep my values straight.

The Scriptures say “Love is not pompous.”

    God, how can I not be pompous when I am speaking truth to those who seem so wrong?

        God, teach me to know how to both speak and listen.

The Scriptures say “Love is not inflated.”

    God, how can I not be inflated with righteousness in the cause of justice?

        God, teach me to know my limits, to realize my mistakes and that I don’t always see clearly.

The Scriptures say “Love is not rude.”

    God, how can I be gracious but also committed to what is right?

        God, teach me to respect all my sisters and brothers.

The Scriptures say “Love does not seek its own interests.”

    God, how can I move beyond my own limits and desires and needs?

        God, teach me to understand the needs and perspectives of others, especially the poor.

The Scriptures say “Love is not quick-tempered.”

    God, how can I learn from my anger?

        God, teach me to learn from my strongest emotions.

The Scriptures say “Love does not brood over injury.”

    God, how can I not get discouraged by all the hurts and injuries in our world?

        God, teach me to move forward and get into action for what is right.

The Scriptures say “Love does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.”

    God, how can I stop thinking of what helps my side win and the other side lose?

        God, teach me to practice a love that wants the truth to win for all people.

The Scriptures say “Love bears all things.”

    God, how can I bear the stress of trying so hard to do what is right?

        God, teach me to let go and to trust in your wisdom and help.

The Scriptures say “Love believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

    God, how can I possibly love?

        God, teach me that I don’t love alone,

       But rather in community with you and with all my sisters and brothers.

The Scriptures say “love never fails.”

    God, how come I sometimes feel failure? How can I believe?

        God, teach me to love with a heart as big as the world

            And to receive love and help with a big a heart.

God, may our love be able to focus on the common good of all.