measure with which you measure
Third Week of Ordinary Time:
January 27 - February 2, 2013
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Third Week of Ordinary Time
The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time begins to take us through Luke's Gospel. We will follow it each week until February when Lent begins; it picks up again after the Easter season when Ordinary Time returns. It introduces Jesus as returning to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit” where he goes to the synagogue and teaches from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” He ends with the stunning words “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Monday is the Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church. Thursday is the Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest. Saturday is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
The first reading this week continues with the Letter to the Hebrews which teaches that Jesus is mediator of a new covenant and a priest who “offered one sacrifice for sins. He took his seat forever at the right hand of God.”
In Mark's Gospel this week, the ever-critical scribes accuse Jesus of being possessed by demons. Jesus responds clearly, “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” When told his family has arrived to see him, he replies that “whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” He tells the imaginative story of the sower and the seed and after the crowd dispersed, Jesus explains to the disciples that the seed is the word of God, accepted at various levels. He encourages his disciples to show their light: “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?” Jesus compares the Kingdom with the tiniest of mustard seeds which grow to “the largest of plants.” He calms the seas during a storm. His disciples wonder, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
On the Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Luke's gospel continues the story of the Jesus teaching in the synagogue. The crowd, although “amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth” began to challenge Jesus. He responds that “no prophet is accepted in his own native place” and challenges their assumptions, angering the crowd. When they try to drive him out of town, he passes through their midst.
Daily Prayer This Week
This week is set at the beginning of Jesus' ministry and the pictures we get of how challenged and pushed he is prepare us to hear the simple parables he tells us. All of us get challenged and pushed in our daily lives. Even when we are on the right road and following a faithful path, there are forces, conflicting demands, tempting alternatives, differing values that batter us. It takes grace and courage to trust our real mission and that our Lord will be with us through it all.
Each morning this week, we can take a moment, to ask for what we desire. The entire day will be different just by spending 20 seconds sitting at the edge of the bed saying, “Lord, I want to keep my eyes open today. Whatever comes at me today, I want to stay in touch with you. Thank you.” Another morning I may be aware of a big decision I have to execute that day or a conflict I am planning to face, and I might pray, “Okay, Lord, this is the day. This is how I live out my relationship with you. Be with me and give me what I need. Keep reminding me I can't do it without you.”
Each day will offer a different brief moment of connection with our Lord, but each will ground the day. Then it is so very easy, while in the shower or walking down a hall, for just brief moments here and there in the background of our day, to stay in touch with our Lord. These guides can help keep us focused on the nourishing Word which interacts with our daily life. Every day can seem like a living Parable of the Sower. There is seed being scattered all around us and we can see and experience our degrees of receptivity. And while we are doing the best we can, all day, every day, in a variety of things, we can be consoled by the Lord's smile reminding us that the Kingdom is like a mustard seed. The real graces come from very small seeds, the smallest of efforts that make a big difference. Most of all, when things get rough, during any day, we can pause and take a breath and ask him to calm the wind and sea in our hearts.
Every night we can thank him for his presence and ground our growing relationship with him.
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