3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

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The Inaugural Speech

Claret Media Cameroon

We hear so often of inaugural speeches: at the start of the academic year, during the installation of a president, etc. During this speech, the orator gives a line-up of all the possible achievements do be realised during his/her term of office.

At the beginning of his ministry, Luke presents Jesus during his home coming, endowed with the power of the Spirit. Jesus gives his inaugural speech by insisting on the fact that his mission is given by the spirit. This inaugural lesson came shortly after Christ spent forty days and forty nights in the desert preparing for His public ministry. His anointing is given by the Spirit of the Lord to bring good news to the POOR, The Captives, the Blind and the Downtrodden. He has one message for them : It is the Lord’s year of favour.


There are many lessons to draw from this inaugural speech:

First of all, we can see the place of the Holy Spirit in the life and ministry of Jesus. The later always acts through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We too like Jesus, through our baptism and confession have the spirit of the Lord upon us. He has endowed us with the seven gifts. This implies that Jesus has given his mission to each one of us. We are to continue this mission until the end of the world, when He will come to judge the living and the dead. We must be involved in the life and mission of our modern world. In a world where there is a lot of consumerism, with very few rich people and very many poor people, we are called upon to preach the Good news to the most dejected in the society. We are to reflect the merciful face of God to the suffering.

Secondly, we can identify the importance of the Bible in the life of every Christian. This inaugural speech is from the SCROLL or the Holy scriptures at that time. This shows that Jesus read and understood the Scriptures. Today we have a priceless gift of God in the inspired books of the Bible. Let us show true appreciation for that gift by using it to build up a better knowledge of the Christian faith which it teaches us. There should be a Bible in every Christian home. It should not be an ornament on a shelf, but a fountain and source from which we can draw strength and refreshment in the daily practice of our Christian Faith.

The Bible contains the Good News. The Good news is that we are loved we are noticed we are valued no matter our social status. We must make ourselves Good news so that others may come closer to God.


The Word of God is Not Confined to the Bible



As we carry out Christ’s command to evangelize – reinforced by Archbishop Miller at the recent Upper Room conference – we may hear the objection “Where does the Bible say that?” The answer is that God’s revelation is not confined to the Bible.

Consider what Luke said in the Gospel reading: that he wanted Theophilus to “know the truth” concerning the things about which he had been instructed. In fact, all the New Testament writings were addressed to people who had already received instruction.

For example, Paul warned the Galatians against anyone preaching “a Gospel contrary to that which you received.” He urged Timothy to maintain the doctrine “you have heard from my lips” and the Thessalonians to stand firm in the traditions “you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.”



Considering Our Common Humanity

 O.P. | 2019

The first reading from the prophet Nehemiah gives us a lively account of the public proclamation of the Book of the Law in the assembly by Ezra, the scribe: Ezra read from the Lord God, translating and giving the sense, so that the people understood what was read.

The people were told not to weep or be mournful, but to rejoice: The joy of the Lord is your stronghold. This is reinforced in the responsorial psalm: The law of the Lord revives the soul… The precepts of the Lord… gladden the heart… The command of the Lord… gives light to the eyes.

Considering Our Common Humanity (2019)


God’s Word: It Unites, Liberates, and Rebuilds Us


God is present among us through his word; the word that unites, liberates and rebuilds us. It’s not a promise that we should wait to be fulfilled tomorrow. Whenever we welcome God’s word something in us is renewed. Let’s see how we can open ourselves to the recreating power of the word.

The Gospel gives the account of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, in his home place, Nazareth. During the service in the synagogue, Jesus reads the text from the prophet Isaiah, about the messiah anointed to bring the good news of liberation to captives. No doubt, it’s not the first time that the people hear about that; yet, this time there’s just something new going on. It’s no more a promise which people should wait for its accomplishment. In his homily, the shortest ever, Jesus simply says: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” The liberation that the people have been waiting for is there.


The Favour and Graciousness of God



Being a Catholic, then, is not so much question of sitting around passively and receiving sacraments, etc.. It is more question of knowing, from experience, the favour and graciousness of God – and moving into action from there: sharing God’s bias for the poor, not just barracking for them but standing with them and for them in their struggles for justice and greater equity; urging ourselves and others, particularly our politicians, to see beyond cultural blinkers and to be in touch really with life as it is; seeing justice, not as punishment, but reconciliation, where both victims and offenders are helped to grow, to grow up, to mature.


We Are Called to Do the Same Work as Jesus



As a community of believers, we need to ask the same question: “How is God’s Spirit prodding, nudging, leading us, as a parish, to shape a year acceptable to the Lord, a year in which we become, more and more, faithful to the job description in Isaiah, and to the gospel of Jesus.

This kind of talk led Jesus to the brink of being thrown off a cliff. It leads us first, thank God, not to a cliff but to the Lord’s table, where he nourishes us with his life in the gifts of the Eucharist, the sacrament of the altar of the Cross. May this gift open us, each of us and all of us as a parish, to receive the anointing of the Spirit and to live a year acceptable to the Lord.


Justice Up the River


There is a significant difference between charity and justice. Both are part of the teaching of Jesus. Both are a part of our Catholic faith. But we, like most Christians, are much better at charity than at justice, and we may not even be aware of the difference.

Harry Fagan, who was one of the pioneers of social action in our Cleveland diocese back in the sixties had a favorite story which he would tell frequently to draw out the difference between charity and justice. It was a story about a small Christian village located by a broad river. One day as the people in that village were busy doing their various tasks, a body floated down the river. When they saw it, they retrieved it and gave it a reverent burial, because they were good Christian people. The next day another body floated down the river, and they did the same. As the days passed, more and more bodies kept floating down the river…

The Faith Too Seldom Tried (2007)
The Two Steps to Compassion (2010)
We are the Body of Christ (2013)
One Body (2019(


Following Jesus Christ in His Church



Today, far too often, we find ourselves seeking only what we want to be true or what we find convenient for us to be true. Following Jesus Christ in His Church is a demanding exercise and demands our whole life. Together you and I form the Church, but never by ourselves and never without the authority established by Christ to guide and direct His Church. The First Letter to the Corinthians includes the description that we have today of how we are all one and how we are called to work together for the glory of God.

When we separate ourselves from the Church, we separate ourselves from Christ. Today many Christians no longer believe in the Church. They profess faith in Christ but do not see the importance of belonging to the Church. This is part of the struggle with individualism in our own time: we want to believe but we want to believe only our own version of faith. We do not want to be given the teaching of the Church if we disagree with it. We end up following, not Christ, but only ourselves.


March for Life: Once again to the “Great Shlep”


In the “great shlep” we are going somewhere – not just to our nation’s capital for a one day event but to the future, to the point where the dignity of all life (from natural birth to natural death) is affirmed and valued.  In the language of religion; we are marching to the Kingdom of God.  For me, the March for Life is a continuation of the civil rights marches of the sixties.  The paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the arc of history bends toward justice and that which is right.  This is the objective truth that energized and fortified the civil rights movement of the sixties and their great work and it is the same objective truth which emboldens the pro-life movement.  There is truth and it will not be denied and all which is untrue will eventually fall away.  We are marching toward the future.


So What Is It That You Have to Offer?



We should never think that our role is insignificant. We should never think that our part is too little. We should never reduce ourselves to a number. The Body of Christ needs every part, every person, to fulfill his or her role in life so that God’s plan can triumph over the powers of evil. Perhaps, you work hard to make a life with your husband or wife; you spend endless hours molding your children, you wonder what part your checking over fifth grade math homework has in the grand scheme of your life. The love, the care, and the encouragement you give to that fifth grader helps him or her become the person God created your child to be.


Can You Say, “I Am Christ”?


If I were to ask you this morning: who are you? How would you answer? Most of you would give me a name. Bob. Sue. Gladys. Some of you would add a job or career description: George, an accountant. Barbara, a nurse. Some of you might even throw in a relationship descriptor. Linda, clerk and mother of three boys. Harold, postal worker and grandfather. What else could you add? Your hometown; your parish; a bit of family history; maybe a quick medical run-down. All of these descriptors—name, job, relationships, history—all of those pick us out of the herd, I mean, they identify you as you. These are differences about us that distinguish us from them, you from me, me from them and so on. Oh, and you would likely throw in there somewhere that you are a Christian. So, let me ask: who are you as a Christian? How does this descriptor pick you out, make you different?


Habitual Behaviors: Good or Bad?



Brothers and Sisters, from all that has been said, it should be evident that it is time to examine our habitual behaviors. We should take an honest look at all of our habits. Which of them further the Reign of God here – as well as the Kingdom of Heaven? Which are those that make me and others better people? Which are those that are harmful? Where are my blind spots? How much am I influenced or determined by my preconditioning and the surrounding pagan culture? What must I change in myself to make the world a better place?

Jesus came for our eternal salvation. He came to liberate us from our sinfulness. He came to make the world a better place. As disciples and members of his Mystical Body, we are called to share in his work!


A Word Worth Listening



It is interesting to note that the etymology of the word ‘obedience’, which comes from the Latin ‘obedire’, or in the original Biblical languages, Hebrew (shema) and Greek (hupakouo), means to listen. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why listening is so under-rated in today’s society that places ‘doing’ or activism as the benchmark of achievement. In a “just do it” culture, the whole notion of obedience seems absurd and even anachronistic. Everything in our culture resists obedience, because we are made to feel that any loss of control over self-fulfillment is a loss of self. Because of the emphasis placed on freedom, self-will, autonomy and personal determination, obedience does little to suggest a good life. From a marketing perspective, obedience is a hard sell, especially because the very notion of obedience seems to be a suffocation of life rather than the promotion of it.


Justice Done in Faith

HomiliesSUNDAY WEB SITE | 1997

There are surely humanistic reasons for opposing the death penalty and abortion, for more fair distribution of wealth and the world’s gifts, for the use of talents and expertise in service rather than obscene self-indulgence.

But when a Christian opposes murder on death row or in hospital delivery rooms, when a Christian proposes an economy of service rather than greed, it is not just a matter of human calculation. For us, it is a matter of faith. It is a matter of whether we really believe the words we have heard and the actions we have seen in Jesus, who represents most fully to us God’s will and our mission.


As Members of the Body of Christ, We are All Connected

HomiliesST. LOUIS REVIEW | 1997

The Scriptures continue to speak to us in the midst of this pandemic and the serious disagreements and divisions among us. These readings can clearly teach us something that we need to hear right now, rather than hearing them as a remembrance of the past. What particular lessons are offered to you through these readings this weekend?…

We can use the reading from Paul as a guideline to set our relationships right in the world. Each of us are part of the same body. Some of our hearts and minds may need conversion for us to believe the word of God. We have, at least some of us, begun to believe that some lives are worthless, and we have lived as if we are disconnected to them. What will it take for us to set aside our own so-called wisdom to allow the wisdom of God to transform our minds and hearts?

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Should We Build Walls or Bridges?

January 23, 2022 – Friends, our first reading this Sunday reminds us that we need walls to maintain our identity. But our ultimate purpose is not to hunker down behind those walls, but to go out and transform the world. We need both the walls that define who we are, and the bridges that allow us to bring the light of Christ to all the nations.

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The Church of Jesus Christ is not a club, not a social organization, not a collectivity of like-minded people. Rather, it is a living organism, a body composed of interdependent cells and molecules.

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January 24, 2004

The Lessons of Nehemiah

Our first reading for this week is taken from the book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. Nehemiah returned from exile in order to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and to preside over the reconstitution of the Israelite nation. The Church, the new Israel, is a people with an identity grounded in tradition, law, word, and sacrament. When we allow those foundations to be destroyed, we are in danger of losing ourselves.

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January 20, 2007

The Paradox of Walls

Nehemiah, the 5th century governor of Judea, has an important spiritual lesson for us today. Nehemiah led the project of re-building the walls of Jerusalem after the return from exile. Walls, which set a community apart, are essential for identity and clarity of purpose. If the church is to be a world-transforming agent, it must, first, know clearly who she is and what makes her distinctive.

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January 23, 2010

Learning Who We Are

The dramatic scene presented in the Book of Nehemiah presents a people who had forgotten their identity and learning, as if for the first time, who they really are. It is the mission of all those who remain invested in the Faith of the Church to give testimony to their brothers and sisters in Christ, reminding all, that in Christ, we have received a unique and wonderful identity- and it is only when we know who we are that will be able to find our purpose and accomplish the mission that Christ has given to us.

This week’s reading from the book of Nehemiah provides a reflection on the importance of keeping firm our religious identity and finding strength in our religious identity so we can go out into the world with confidence and grace. By keeping our strength in God we can go out into the world and Christify it

The podcasts on this page are from the archives of Bishop Barron who has been doing them for over 20 years. All of the podcasts below relate to this Sunday Readings.

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