3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 22, 2023

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Pope Francis

March 13, 2013 – Present

JANUARY 26, 2020

Where a True Journey of Conversion Begins

Our adherence to the Lord cannot be reduced to a personal effort

Today’s Gospel (cf. Mt 4:12-23) presents us with the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. This occurred in Galilee, a land on the periphery of Jerusalem that was looked upon with suspicion because the population was mixed with Gentiles. Nothing good and new was expected from that region. However, it was precisely there that Jesus, who had grown up in Nazareth in Galilee, began his preaching.

He proclaimed the central core of his  teaching in his condensed appeal: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (v. 17). This announcement is like a powerful ray of light that pierces the darkness and splits the fog and evokes the prophecy of Isaiah that is read on Christmas Eve: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined” (Is 9:2). With the coming of Jesus, Light of the world, God the Father showed  his closeness and friendship to humanity. These [gifts] are freely given to us  regardless of our merits. Closeness to God and friendship with God, are not deserved but gifts  freely given by God. We must safeguard these gifts.

The appeal to conversion that Jesus addresses to all men and women of good will is fully understood, precisely in view of the event of the manifestation of the Son of God, on which we meditated on recent Sundays. It is often impossible to change life, to abandon the path of egotism, of evil, to abandon the way of sin because we centre our commitment to conversion only on ourselves and on our strengths, and not on Christ and his Spirit. However, our adherence to the Lord cannot be reduced to a personal effort, no. To think this would also be a sin of pride. Our adherence to the Lord cannot be reduced to a personal effort. Instead, it must express itself in a trusting opening of the heart and of the mind in order to welcome the Good News of Jesus. This is — the Word of Jesus, the Good News of Jesus, the Gospel — that changes the world and hearts! We are thus called to trust Christ’s Word, to open ourselves to the Father’s mercy and to allow ourselves to be transformed by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

JANUARY 22, 2017

The Kingdom of Heaven

[su_pullquoteTthe first community of disciples of Christ was born[/su_pullquote]

Jesus’ message reiterates that of the Baptist, announcing the “kingdom of heaven” (v. 17). This kingdom does not involve the establishment of a new political power, but the fulfillment of the Covenant between God and his people, which inaugurates a season of peace and justice. To secure this covenant pact with God, each one is called to convert, transforming his or her way of thinking and living. This is important: converting is not only changing the way of life but also the way of thinking. It is a transformation of thought. It is not a matter of changing clothing, but habits! What differentiates Jesus from John the Baptist is the way and manner. Jesus chooses to be an itinerant prophet. He doesn’t stay and await people, but goes to encounter them. Jesus is always on the road! His first missionary appearances take place along the lake of Galilee, in contact with the multitude, in particular with the fishermen. There Jesus does not only proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God, but seeks companions to join in his salvific mission. In this very place he meets two pairs of brothers: Simon and Andrew, James and John. He calls them, saying: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (v. 19). The call reaches them in the middle of their daily activity: the Lord reveals himself to us not in an extraordinary or impressive way, but in the everyday circumstances of our life. There we must discover the Lord; and there he reveals himself, makes his love felt in our heart; and there — with this dialogue with him in the everyday circumstances of life — he changes our heart. The response of the four fishermen is immediate and willing: “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (v. 20). We know, in fact, that they were disciples of the Baptist and that, thanks to his witness, they had already begun to believe in Jesus as the Messiah (cf. Jn 1:35-42).

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

JANUARY 26, 2014

Galilee of the Nations

Galilee is like the world of today: the co-presence of different cultures, the necessity for comparison and the necessity of encounter.

This Sunday’s Gospel recounts the beginnings of the public life of Jesus in the cities and villages of Galilee. His mission does not begin in Jerusalem, the religious centre and also the social and political centre, but in an area on the outskirts, an area looked down upon by the most observant Jews because of the presence in that region of various foreign peoples; that is why the Prophet Isaiah calls it “Galilee of the nations” (Is 9:1).

It is a borderland, a place of transit where people of different races, cultures, and religions converge. Thus Galilee becomes a symbolic place for the Gospel to open to all nations. From this point of view, Galilee is like the world of today: the co-presence of different cultures, the necessity for comparison and the necessity of encounter. We too are immersed every day in a kind of “Galilee of the nations”, and in this type of context we may feel afraid and give in to the temptation to build fences to make us feel safer, more protected. But Jesus teaches us that the Good News, which he brings, is not reserved to one part of humanity, it is to be communicated to everyone. It is a proclamation of joy destined for those who are waiting for it, but also for all those who perhaps are no longer waiting for anything and haven’t even the strength to seek and to ask.

Starting from Galilee, Jesus teaches us that no one is excluded from the salvation of God, rather it is from the margins that God prefers to begin, from the least, so as to reach everyone. He teaches us a method, his method, which also expresses the content, which is the Father’s mercy. “Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel” (Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 20).

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

homilies

Pope Benedict XVI

April 19, 2005 – February 28, 2013

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

JANUARY 27, 2008

“Good News”

The “Good News” which Jesus proclaims is summed up in this sentence: “The Kingdom of God – or Kingdom of Heaven – is at hand”

In today’s liturgy the Evangelist Matthew, who will accompany us throughout this liturgical year, presents the beginning of Christ’s public mission. It consisted essentially in preaching the Kingdom of God and healing the sick, showing that this Kingdom is close at hand and is already in our midst. Jesus began his preaching in Galilee, the region where he grew up, the “outskirts” in comparison with the heart of the Jewish Nation which was Judea, and in it, Jerusalem. But the Prophet Isaiah had foretold that this land, assigned to the tribes of Zebulun and Napthali, would have a glorious future: the people immersed in darkness would see a great light (cf. Is 8: 23-9: 2). In Jesus’ time, the term “gospel” was used by Roman emperors for their proclamations. Independently of their content, they were described as “good news” or announcements of salvation, because the emperor was considered lord of the world and his every edict as a portent of good. Thus, the application of this phrase to Jesus’ preaching had a strongly critical meaning, as if to say God, and not the emperor, is Lord of the world, and the true Gospel is that of Jesus Christ.

The “Good News” which Jesus proclaims is summed up in this sentence: “The Kingdom of God – or Kingdom of Heaven – is at hand” (cf. Mt 4: 17; Mk 1: 15). What do these words mean? They do not of course refer to an earthly region marked out in space and time, but rather to an announcement that it is God who reigns, that God is Lord and that his lordship is present and actual, it is being realized. The newness of Christ’s message, therefore, is that God made himself close in him and now reigns in our midst, as the miracles and healings that he works demonstrate. God reigns in the world through his Son made man and with the power of the Holy Spirit who is called “the finger of God” (Lk 11: 20). Wherever Jesus goes the Creator Spirit brings life, and men and women are healed of diseases of body and spirit. God’s lordship is thus manifest in the human being’s integral healing. By this, Jesus wanted to reveal the Face of the true God, the God who is close, full of mercy for every human being; the God who makes us a gift of life in abundance, his own life. The Kingdom of God is therefore life that asserts itself over death, the light of truth that dispels the darkness of ignorance and lies.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana;

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3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

homilies

Pope Saint John Paul II

October 16, 1978 – April 2, 2005

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

1991

Come After Me, and I will Make You Fishers of Men

Being disciples of Christ is not a private matter

By her very nature the Church is a missionary community. She is continually impelled by this missionary thrust which she has received from the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). In fact, the Holy Spirit is the principal agent of the Church’s entire mission.

As a consequence, the Christian vocation is also directed towards the apostolate, towards evangelization, towards mission. All baptized persons are called by Christ to become his apostles in their own personal situation and in the world: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (Jn 20:21). Through his Church Christ entrusts you with the fundamental mission of sharing with others the gift of salvation, and he invites you to participate in building his kingdom. He chooses you, in spite of the personal limitations everyone has, because he loves you and believes in you. This unconditional love of Christ should be the very soul of your apostolic work, in accord with the words of St Paul: “The love of Christ impels us” (2 Cor 5:14).

Being disciples of Christ is not a private matter. On the contrary, the gift of faith must be shared with others. For this reason the same Apostle writes: “If I preach the Gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!” (1 Cor 9:16). Moreover, do not forget that faith is strengthened and grows precisely when it is given to others.

The mission lands in which you have been called to work are not necessarily located in distant countries, but can be found throughout the world, even in the everyday situations where you are. In the countries of more ancient Christian tradition today there is an urgent need to call attention again to the message of Jesus by means of a new evangelization, since there are widespread groups of people who do not know Christ, or do not know him well enough; many, caught by the mechanisms of secularism and religious indifference, are far from him.

Proclaiming Christ means above all giving witness to him with one’s life. It is the simplest form of preaching the Gospel and, at the same time, the most effective way available to you. It consists in showing the visible presence of Christ in one’s own life by a daily commitment and by making every concrete decision in conformity with the Gospel. Today the world especially needs believable witnesses.

Therefore, testify to your faith through your involvement in the world. A disciple of Christ is never a passive and indifferent observer of what is taking place. On the contrary, he feels responsible for transforming social, political, economic and cultural reality.

You must have the courage to speak about Christ in your families and in places where you study, work or recreate, inspired with the same fervor the Apostles had when they said: “We cannot help speaking of what we have heard and seen” (Acts 4:20). Do not be afraid of presenting Christ to someone who does not yet know him. Christ is the true answer, the most complete answer to all the questions which concern the human person and his destiny. Without Christ the human person remains an unsolvable riddle.

Therefore, have the courage to present Christ! Certainly, you must do this in a way which respects each person’s freedom of conscience, but you must do it. Helping a brother or sister to discover Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life is a true act of love for one’s neighbor. So, do not be discouraged, because you are never alone. The Lord will not fail to accompany you, as he promised: “Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world” (Mt 28:20).

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SOURCE: Excerpted from POPE JOHN PAUL II MESSAGE for the VII WORLD YOUTH DAY.


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