Branching-Out

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Jan 22, 2022 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the Book of Nehemiah

(Chapter 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10)

The events in this book took place in the fifth century before the birth of Jesus, when the Jewish people had been freed from exile in Babylon. People are returning to their own land, rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem, and learning anew the law that God handed down through Moses. They weep as Nehemiah reads it to them, not out of sadness but in joy, that this essential part of their faith has been restored to them. But Nehemiah tells them, “Go, and eat rich food and sweet drink…. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength.”

If the Israelites were told to rejoice in a law that took half a day to read, how much more should we rejoice in the law of Jesus which is a law of Love not of fear?

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 19)

“Your words, Lord, are spirit and life.” We Christians should say ,“Your Word, O Lord, is Jesus who gave his life to save us, and your Spirit is the Holy Spirit who lives within us.”

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Topics: Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, RENEW International, third sunday in ordinary time

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Jan 23, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Jonah

(Chapter 3:1-5, 10)

God asks Jonah to go to Nineveh, not a Jewish city but the capital of Assyria, an enemy of Israel, and preach a message of repentance. Repentance is a very powerful word used throughout the Bible. It does not mean changing your mind or being sorry for something. It means having a change of heart, a whole change of direction in your life. We often say we are sorry for something, but repentance involves our whole being focused on something very serious. This was the second time that Jonah had preached this message, so it must have been a difficult and dangerous mission.

Prophets were special people called by God to carry a message to people who had lost their way and were mired in sinfulness. Every age has its prophets, even though they are not necessarily called prophets. Think about people in our own time that you consider as prophets. Who would they be? How can you know that they are true prophets, not false prophets?

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9)

The response to these psalm verses is, “Teach me your ways O Lord.” This is a life-long process, learning God’s ways. We need to be open to new insights and callings from God. What we learned in the third grade or even last year needs to grow continually. How are you open to God’s ongoing message as God speaks to you every day in so many ways? Is there some new call that you believe God is sending to you? How should you respond?

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Topics: Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, catholic renew progam, God's call, Jesus Christ, RENEW International, repent and believe in the gospel, resurrection in our lives, Ordinary Time, the prophet Jonah, third sunday in ordinary time

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