Always learning

Third Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

The response in today’s psalm is “Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life,” it is taken from John’s Gospel (Jn 6:63) and it expresses the message of today’s Gospel reading taken from the beginning of Luke’s Gospel. In fact all of today’s readings are a public proclamation of the Scriptures. What are the Scriptures? They are the Word of God. Pope Francis in an Apostolic Letter in 2019 declared the third Sunday of the year (today) as the Sunday of the Word of God. It is important for us as Christians to be familiar with God’s Word so that we can pass it on to others. 

Ezra the priest had an important role in the restoration of Jerusalem when the people returned from exile in Babylon. The prophet Nehemiah describes how the Scriptures are read by Ezra to the people, who are open to listening to them being proclaimed and their hearts burned and they wept on hearing the Words. They are profoundly touched by the Word of God, which are totally compelling.

Luke narrates Jesus’ return to Nazareth and the beginning of his ministry where he goes into the synagogue on the Sabbath. He stands up to read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and his words are totally compelling for the audience. They are the people of his home town and they listen as Jesus announces that he himself is the fulfilment of the prophet Isaiah who prophesized that God would one day send someone to free the people from oppression. This announcement points to the focus of Jesus’ good news and his mission to help the marginalized members of society. It’s no surprise that “all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him” especially as he said “this text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.” 

We can ask ourselves, how does our own response to the Word of God compare to those who listened to both Ezra and Jesus? Does the Word of God ‘burn’ in my heart? Does it move me to tears? It’s a good idea when reading the Bible to read a passage slowly and reflect and pray on the words, what are they saying to me? Lectio Divina is a good way of becoming familiar with God’s Word. So is attending adult catechism formation meetings.

A reading from the Gospel of Luke (Lk1:1-4; 4:14-21)

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: 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. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. At Mass every celebration of the Eucharist re-enacts that Sabbath day in Nazareth, here today as we celebrate this Eucharist we as members of the Church (the mystical body of Christ) recognise the Lord of life as he stands among us. Just as it was in Nazareth long ago we hear Isaiah’s text and it is being fulfilled as we listen. 
  4. Try to picture the vision that Jesus describes in the Gospel. Think about your own family and community. Who are the most vulnerable? (The poor, the marginalized, the sick, the lonely the old and infirm). What action could you take to make this vision a reality for them? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you as you pray together.  
  5.   Together with your family find the right time to read this Gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare;
    i. The Bible reading from St  Luke (Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21)
    ii. A candle
    iii. Cover the table with a white cloth
    iv. A computer/laptop with the reading and clips
    v. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested)
  6. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  7. Be creative 😊 

In the Gospel reading today we hear how one day when Jesus stood up in the synagogue (a place where the people went to pray and read from the scriptures) in Nazareth his home town, and took a scroll and read from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

  • God is faithful to keep His promises
  • Jesus himself was a promise from God
  • How to make a scroll instructions
  • 2 paper towel tubes
  • Rolled A4 paper
  • Ruler/ scissors
  • Glue/pencil/colours/stickers to decorate
  • Ribbon/string

Do you know what it means to make a promise? It is when we tell someone that we will be sure to do something in the future. If we promise our parents that we will make our bed every morning for the next week then to keep the promise we have to do just that! To keep a promise we have to do exactly what we said we would do. If I promise to study harder at school then I have to study more. Do you think it’s important for us to keep the promises which we make? I think that it is important and the Bible tells us that God keeps his promises, and that God doesn’t lie he is always faithful. (We can read it in the Letter to the Hebrews 6:13-18). In today’s Gospel reading one day on the Sabbath (a special day for the Jews) Jesus went to the synagogue in Nazareth which is the town where he grew up. He stood up and started to read from the scroll which was given to him. He reads a passage which is about himself (although at the time the people don’t know this until he explains it afterwards). The Scripture passage talks about what Jesus has been sent to do, it says he has come to bring good news to the people who are poor, to cure the people who are blind and to help those who are held captive. These are all promises which God has made and Jesus told the people that day in the synagogue that he himself has come to earth to fulfil God’s promises. 

To help you to remember your promises to God you can make your own scroll (just follow the instructions) and write your promises on it. How will you share what you have learnt from today’s scripture? Maybe if you keep the scroll in a safe place you can remind yourself of your promises so you will not forget. 

You can do this whilst listening to this song; “Promises

Jesus himself was a promise from God. Jesus’ mission is to carry out God’s promises to his people. God kept his promise by sending his Son. Let us thank God for keeping his promises and ask him to help us to keep our own promises.

Sign of the cross 

Dear God, each one of us is called to proclaim your good news to the poor, the hungry, the sad and the lonely. Help us to be faithful in keeping our promises to You and to each other. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Today’s Gospel reading speaks of the beginning of Jesus’ mission to bring good news to the poor, to free the captive, to restore sight to the blind and to free those who are oppressed. It also emphasises the importance of the scriptures (the Word of God) and how we as Christians are tasked with continuing this mission. We are members of the body of Christ and make up a single unit; the Church.

  • Jesus established the Kingdom of God through his life, death and Resurrection
  • Jesus has given his Spirit to us so we can continue his mission today as members of the Church
  • ‘One body’ printout
  • Scissors
  • Colours/ glue
  • Paper fasteners

In the Gospel today Jesus announces his mission in the synagogue at Nazareth. He read from the Scriptures (the prophet Isaiah) to announce that God was starting something new, he was carrying out his promise through his Son Jesus Christ who would bring the good news to the poor, heal the sick, free the captives, forgive sinners.

The work of Jesus continues today in our world. Through us as Christians we promise to carry on Jesus’ mission, to help the poor and the weak, to comfort the lonely and sad, to feed the hungry and the thirsty. The reading from the prophet Isaiah promised that these things may be carried out through the Spirit of the Lord which has been fulfilled in Jesus and has been passed onto us at our Baptism. This gift of the Holy Spirit will be strengthened at our Confirmation.

In today’s second reading St. Paul tells us that together we make up Christ’s body, but each of us had a different part. What do you think he meant when he said this? Just as the human body is made up of many parts such as the arms, legs, feet, head, heart (how many more can you think of?), the Church today is not a building but it is all the baptised people who work together to spread the good news about Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. We all have a different part to play. Jesus also gave us a helper so that we can work together to join in Jesus’ mission of helping the poor and the needy. The Holy Spirit has been given to us so that, we the Church can work together (just like all the parts of our body) and serve the Kingdom of God. This week ask the Holy Spirit to help you commit to helping a friend or member of your family, in this way you will be continuing Jesus’ mission. 

To understand better how we are all part of the body of Christ you may like to print out the craft. Colour and cut out all the pieces carefully and if you want stick the parts of the body on craft card to make them stronger. Connect the arms and legs to the main body piece using metal brads/ paper fasteners. Glue the church image to the body and the cross image to the head.  Remember that together we are a part of Christ’s body, but we each have a different part. Do this whilst listening to this song; “We are One Body.

Sign of the cross.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Breathe into me Holy Spirit, that all my thoughts may be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work too, may be holy. Attract my heart Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy. Amen 

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.