Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Engaging Faith | Tue, Jan 19, 2010

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Third Sunday of Ordinary Time January 24, 2010 
ReadingsNehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-101 Corinthians 12:12-30 or 12:12-14, 27Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21 
CalendarJanuary 18 – 25: Annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 21-22: National prayer vigil for life, Washington, DC.January 27: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the HolocaustJanuary 31 - February 6: Catholic Schools Week 

Quotes “The Christian response to the challenges of our times is to be found in the Good News of Jesus. The words that signaled the start of His public ministry must be the watchword for every Christian response to injustice, "He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written" The spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore, he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to captives, recovery of favor from the Lord. Rolling up the scroll he gave it back ...and sat down...'Today this Scripture passage is fulfilling in your hearing'."US Catholic Bishops, Brothers and Sisters are Us "The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution that has to start with each one of us." Dorothy Day “We now need … to voice a strong call to correct the economic and social imbalances present in the world of work and to make decisive efforts to ensure that the processes of economic globalization give due attention to solidarity and the respect owed to every human person. … As the unequivocal words of the Gospel remind us, there is a special presence of Christ in the poor, and this requires the Church to make a preferential option for them. … We must reject the temptation to offer a privatized and individualistic spirituality which ill accords with the demands of charity, to say nothing of the implications of the Incarnation and, in the last analysis, of Christianity's eschatological tension.”  Apostolic Letter ‘Novo Millennio Ineunte” of John Paul II Jesus revealed the capacity to affirm your own tradition, and at the same time, to reach out to those of other traditions. …  Be careful living with nationalistic narrowness, because that does not discern the broadness of the heart of God.
Rev. James Forbes Jr, Riverside Church, New York City The bread that you possess belongs to the hungry. The clothes that you store in boxes, belong to the naked. The shoes rotting by you, belong to the bare-foot. The money that you hide belongs to anyone in need. - Saint Basil, fourth century theologian and monastic
Thoughts for your considerationThe gospel today is one of the gospel passages which supports most explicitly and dramatically our Catholic social teachings and the vision of Jesus as one committed to liberation for all people.  Today we hear Jesus use the powerful words of Isaiah to make clear the nature of his ministry.  Jesus makes clear that he is concerned with justice.  He wants to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year of Jubilee. The message of Jesus is good news because it is a message of freedom and liberation, especially for those who are poor or in any way “imprisoned.” Two aspects of the program of Jesus seem important to remember:1. It is good news. The prophet Nehemiah writes: “Do not be sad, and do not weep." The word today is about freedom and liberation.  It is a vision to get excited about and to share. Jesus’ vision of justice and liberation does not have to be a painful guilt trip or only a heavy or impossible obligation. [If it is, it will not give us the energy to make it real.] It should be seen as freedom and liberation and joy for ourselves and the whole world community.  It is something worth sharing.  It is something that the world needs and longs for.  It is a radical call to liberation and freedom. It is a revolutionary call and not a call to private piety or simple good deed doing. It is grounded in the Exodus experience  – empowering slaves to claim their freedom and walk out of Egypt.  For the poor it may be a freedom from poverty; for the rich it might mean a letting go of the burden of too many possessions; for those who are living life in fear, it might mean letting go of fear; for those who are in an abusive marriage, it might be taking action to get out of the abusive situation; for a nation at war, it might be a commitment to let go of solving problems by military power and working cooperatively in a spirit of nonviolence; for a nation with unjust social structures, it might be legal changes to the system; for a international community filled with violence, it might be non-violent resolution of conflicts; for a world without respect for human rights, it might mean a international legal system that protects the human rights of all men and women.  “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.”  The second reading from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that we are one.  When one person is hurting, we are all hurting.  When one person is in need we are all in need.  Our brothers and sisters in Haiti are in a greater need than ever after the recent devastating earthquake.  As one body, we all share in their suffering.  We share in the grief of those who have had loved ones die, of those whose loved ones have been injured, of those who have lost homes and communities, and of those who still don’t know how their loved ones are doing.   

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group Does the word of Jesus feel like good news of great joy?What freedom would be a joyful liberation for you and for your community? For the people of Haiti, one of the poorest nations of the world, who have been so recently afflicted with a destructive earthquake, what would the liberation of Jesus look like? 

Actions- Links

Jubilee YearJesus proclaims a “year of God’s favor” or a jubilee year – a year when debts would be forgiven and the poor could start fresh and free.  “In the Jubilee Year as quoted in Leviticus, those enslaved because of debts are freed, lands lost because of debt are returned, and a community torn by inequality is restored.”  Ten years ago, during the jubilee year 2000, many groups were inspired to work for debt relief for the poorest, most indebted nations of the world.  The effort continues.  For more info go to Learn more about Haiti and the debt crisis and take action at   

HaitiCatholic Relief Services ( ) has various resources on the situation in Haiti including lesson plans for middle and high school students at  

“Crazy facts”

Per capita annual Income in the United States is $37,600.Per capita annual Income in Haiti is $380.The percent of the population of the United States below the poverty line is 12%In Haiti the percentage below the poverty line is 80%.

 Prayers of Intercession Response: God, set us all free.For all those who do not have access to the basics of human living, food, shelter, water, clothing, and health care, we pray….For all people who do not have access to their lands or natural resources and so cannot be free to prosper, we pray….For all nations and peoples held down by debt, we pray….For all those oppressed by military powers, oppressive rulers, or any form of terrorism, we pray…For all those who are denied any of their human rights, we pray….For all those trapped by poverty and injustice, we pray….In particular, for all our Haitian sisters and brothers, we pray….  

PrayerThe prayer below is edited from St. Mary’s College Ipswich at which is no longer available. 

Living God, we pray for all people:

·       For those women shut off from a full life by tradition and practice.

·       For those people who are oppressed and exploited.

·       For those denied their freedom and dignity by systems and authorities.

·       For those forced to leave their homelands because of their ideologies.

·       For those seeking answers and meaning to their lives within their own cultures and religions.

·       For those who labor too long and too hard only to barely feed and clothe themselves and their families.

·       For those forced to sell their bodies to survive

·       For those women and men who live lives of quiet desperation at the hands of the powerful and prestigious.

·       For these and all who suffer


We pray, asking that the Church may once again give joyful expression to your creative love

·       Which breaks down barriers and unites person to person, woman to man, and community to community,

·       Which gives meaning and hope to empty lives and makes us reach out to each other in generous self-giving,

·       Which makes us more complete ourselves.


So God, fulfill your promise in us for the sake of all human beings through Jesus Christ.