Third Sunday in Ordinary Time by Father Joseph Tedesco

Homily of 27th January 2019

Nehemiah 8:2 –10: 1 Cor 12: 12 – 30; Luke 1:1 – 4; 4: 14 –21

Living God’s law is uplifting, it creates personhood and community and the sense of identity, dignity and purpose, how much we are searching for these realities today. Can we see one another in terms of co-operation, to use our gifts together? And there is a complementarity that comes from the redemptive power of Christ. We become one. With God and each other.

Jesus has an impact on human history; indeed, the history of the world could not be written without Jesus Christ and his church. Jesus’ preaching in Nazareth is an enormously important moment. He had been healing and preaching all over Galilee and now he comes to his own town and declares the incredible truth – I am the fulfillment of the Promise. Jesus is the fulfillment of the covenant.

In the power of the Spirit, Jesus emerges from his ordinary life in Nazareth and he is linked to the great traditions of prophesy of Israel. Ezra, in the book of Nehemiah, was doing the same. He was reading the Book of the Law, the Covenant Book, the promise of God to Israel and hearing that good news brought the people to life. Well, those long-lost hopes are found again in the teaching and preaching of Christ and gives us a radically new way to relate to one another, a life of community in the Spirit. Living in the Spirit of Christ for others.
We are to make happen the new world Jesus proclaims, which is the vision that God has for us, the covenant with God. I’ll be your God and you will be my people. We live in a relationship with God, Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. That’s our life.

So, what do we do about this now? What’s our response as believers, as Christians? Really, we must hold on to this truth of Jesus and live it. So where are you in this becoming, becoming Christ for others?

We first must accept that being Christ means we are willing to die to ourself. We see Jesus most clearly as our Christ on the Cross. That’s why we adore Him there. That’s our daily prayer of the Eucharist, this is my body, this is my blood. Jesus comes to that total willingness to live for God – so we too must do the same.

This dying – this letting go of all in you that is not of God is being born again – that means starting over, from now on living life in the Kingdom of God. Have you been born again? That is: Have you accepted the new reality being Christian means for you?

The challenge is changing our natural default thinking – we believe “it’s all about me,” that’s our thinking and we act out of this, we often respond to situations thinking about ourselves and what’s happening to me here, but the Christian default thinking is “it’s all about the other person” to see the person in front of you as the one to respond to with this new understanding of life that Jesus invites us into. This understanding must get into your heart and soul. That is, it’s all about community – about the communion we share with God and one another. So, it’s changing your default thinking. There it is – to think the way Jesus does. How do we do it?

What does St. Paul teach us today in that long reading from Corinthians? Each part of the body must be in appropriate relationship with all the other parts. Now we are each part of the body of Christ. So, the more you surrender to Christ, the more Christ fills you up, the more you experience God’s life and love which empowers you to go further on this journey of surrender. To change that default setting, so that you indeed are taking your part, living as the body of Christ. Then you are right where God has invited you to go – to be in God’s love and then, to love others the way God loves them.

When we move our hearts there, we begin to own the very words of Jesus. They become what we are about in a deep way. Hold on to those powerful words that Jesus proclaimed:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me ……”. You need to fill in the rest of that sentence. What is your call? Your unique call? How has God invited you to be in the world for others to bring Good News to all?

Ultimately, we must come to the point in our life to be able to say, “Today this is fulfilled.” That happens when we can say we are doing what God wants us to do.

So, Jesus is inviting us to examine our life. Are we on the way to fulfill what God has called us to as believers, as members of the community of the Church, as part of the mystical body of Christ? Really, we have no option here, do we? We belong to Christ, so what else can we do,
but live Christ? Let’s do that in a better way today.