Third Sunday Ordinary Time Mass and Reflections

Scripture readings for Sunday's Mass are here

 Jesus Unrolls The Book In The Synagogue 
by James Tissot  Image source

Extract from The Second Reading of St Paul to The Corinthians 

 "Brothers and sisters:
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.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit."

 Extract from St Luke's Gospel

 "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.”


  • Various reflections from St Louis University Centre For Liturgy here.

  • Why Jesus' reading of the Old Testament was so radical from here.

  • Gospel Reflection from Iglesia Descalza blogsite here.

"Moreover, note what St Paul does, and does not, say. He does not say: Just as the body is a unity made up of different parts, so too is the Church. Instead he says: So it is with CHRIST. ‘
Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with CHRIST’ (12:12). We are not baptised into an organisation that happens to be structured rather like a human body. We are baptised into CHRIST. 
 Underlying what Paul says here is the profound reality of the Incarnation: God taking on human flesh. The Word was made flesh. We are baptised into the Word made flesh.
Here St Paul joins hands with Matthew and John, who both have their own different ways of stating the same profound truth. Matthew has the parable of the Sheep and the Goats, where Jesus says: ‘Inasmuch as you did this to one of the least of these, you did it to me’. 
And in St John’s gospel, at the Last Supper, Jesus says: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches’. Words such as these lead us into the heart of the mystery of God made man. They help us to see ourselves and one another as we truly are, in Christ."

 I have posted on this story elsewhere on my blog and it fits well with today's reflections on the readings so here it is again. 

Reading it today, it has so much in it, and brings home to me forcefully the awesome gift of the presence of Christ in Eucharist that we receive and share when we come together as a community.

Our Lord Jesus Christ
Painting by James Tissot  Wikipedia)

The Rabbi's Gift

A famous monastery had fallen on hard times. Formerly its many buildings were filled with young monks, but now it was all but deserted.

 People no longer came there to be nourished by prayer, and only a handful of old monks shuffled through the cloisters serving God with heavy hearts.

 On the edge of the monastery woods, an old rabbi had built a little hut. He would come there, from time to time, to fast and pray. 

No one ever spoke with him, but whenever he appeared, the word would be passed from monk to monk: ‘The rabbi walks in the woods.’ And, for as long as he was there, the monks would feel sustained by his prayerful presence.

One day the abbot decided to visit the rabbi and open his heavy heart to him. So, after the morning Eucharist, he set out through the woods. As he approached the hut, the abbot saw the rabbi standing in the doorway, as if he had been awaiting the abbot’s arrival, his arms outstretched in welcome. 

They embraced like long-lost brothers. The two entered the hut where, in the middle of the room, stood a wooden table with the scriptures open on it. They sat for a moment in the presence of the Book.

Then the rabbi began to weep. The abbot could not contain himself. He covered his face with his hands and began to cry too. For the first time in his life, he cried his heart out. 
The two men sat there like lost children, filling the hut with their shared pain and tears. But soon the tears ceased and all was quiet. 

The rabbi lifted his head. ‘You and your brothers are serving God with heavy hearts,’ he said. ‘You have come to ask a teaching of me. I will give you a teaching, but you can repeat it only once.

 After that, no one must ever say it aloud again.’

The rabbi looked straight at the abbot and said, ‘The Messiah is among you.’ 

For a while, all was silent. The rabbi said, ‘Now you must go.’ The abbot left without a word and without ever looking back.

 The next morning, the abbot called his monks together in the chapter room. He told them he had received a teaching from the ‘rabbi who walks in the woods’ and that the teaching was never again to be spoken aloud. 

Then he looked at the group of assembled brothers and said, ‘The rabbi said that one of us is the Messiah.’ The monks were startled by this saying.

‘What could it mean?’ they asked themselves. ‘Is Brother John the Messiah? Or Brother Matthew or Brother Thomas? Am I the Messiah? 

What could all this mean?’ They were all deeply puzzled by the rabbi’s teaching, but no one ever mentioned it again. As time went by, the monks began to treat one another with a very special reverence. 

There was a gentle, warm-hearted human concern about them now which was hard to describe but easy to notice. 

They lived with each other as people who had finally found the special something they were looking for.

But they prayed the Scriptures together as people who were always looking for something.

Occasional visitors found themselves deeply moved by the life of these monks. Word spread, and before long people were coming from far and wide to be nourished by the prayer life of the monks and to experience the loving reverence in which they held each other. 

Soon, other young men were asking, once again, to become a part of the community, and the community grew and prospered.

 In those days, the rabbi no longer walked in the woods. His hut had fallen into ruins. But somehow, the old monks who had taken his teaching to heart still felt sustained by prayerful presence. "

by William J. Bausch. Storytelling , Imagination and Faith taken from the book Proclaiming His Kingdom by Fr. John Fuellenbach. 

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