Sunday Readings and Reflections

Jesus Unrolls the Book in the Synagogue, James Tissot, Brooklyn Museum

Sunday, January 23 
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Roman Ordinary calendar

St. Marianne Cope

Book of Nehemiah 8,2-4a.5-6.8-10.

Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, which consisted of men, women, and those children old enough to understand. 
Standing at one end of the open place that was before the Water Gate, he read out of the book from daybreak till midday, in the presence of the men, the women, and those children old enough to understand; and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law. 
Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that had been made for the occasion. 
Ezra opened the scroll so that all the people might see it (for he was standing higher up than any of the people); and, as he opened it, all the people rose. 
Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people, their hands raised high, answered, “Amen, amen!” Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD, their faces to the ground. 
Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God, interpreting it so that all could understand what was read. 
Then (Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and) Ezra the priest-scribe (and the Levites who were instructing the people) said to all the people: “Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep”-for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. 
He said further: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!” 

Psalms 19(18),

The law of the LORD is perfect, 
refreshing the soul; 
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, 
giving wisdom to the simple. 

The precepts of the LORD are right, 
rejoicing the heart; 
The command of the LORD is clear, 
enlightening the eye.   

The fear of the LORD is pure, 
enduring forever; 
The ordinances of the LORD are true, 
all of them just. 

Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart 
find favor before you, 
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. 

First Letter to the Corinthians 12,12-30.

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. 
Now the body is not a single part, but many. 
If a foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. 
Or if an ear should say, “Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. 
If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 
But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. 
If they were all one part, where would the body be? 
But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.” 
Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, 
and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, 
whereas our more presentable parts do not need this. But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, 
so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. 
If (one) part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy. 
Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it. 
Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues. 
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? 
Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1,1-4.4,14-21.

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.”

Origen (c.185-253) 
Priest and theologian 
Homilies on Saint Luke’s Gospel, no. 32, 2 ; SC 87

“Today this passage of Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”

When you read that: “He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him”, take care not to consider Christ’s listeners to be blessed and to think of yourselves as deprived of his teaching. If Scripture is true then God did not just speak in former times in the meeting places of the Jews but he still speaks today in our own assemblies. And not just here, in our own assembly, but in other meeting places. And all over the world Jesus teaches and seeks out bearers of his word to pass on his teaching. Pray that he may find me both ready and able to sing it.

Just as almighty God, seeking for prophets at a time when prophecy was lacking to men, finds Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, for example, so Jesus seeks out bearers of the message to pass on his word, to “teach in their synagogues and be praised by all.” Today Jesus is even more “praised by all” than at the time when he was only known in a single province.

Traditional Latin Mass Readings for this Sunday

Click here for a live-streamed Traditional Latin Mass

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