Today, the third Sunday in Ordinary time, is Word of God Sunday. In 2019, Pope Francis declared the third Sunday in Ordinary time to be celebrated as such. Today we are called, reminded, invited to study Scripture, to listen to the Word of God, and to live it as deeply as we can.
My husband and I joined the Bible in a Year podcast. We listen to a day at a time for about twenty minutes. We went into this without much expectation—except maybe we could accomplish reading the Bible in one year—with yet another Bible study. It is anything but. We are surprised how much we have learned in three weeks, how much we look forward to it each day, and most importantly, how it has impacted our spiritual journey and given us a clear framework to view our daily living.
The Word of God is living. The Bible is all our story, and it is a story of deceit, suffering, violence, betrayal, sin, familial brokenness, messiness of life, and God’s love, which brings forth beauty and goodness. God’s promise to be with us always. To save us, to be with us, to walk with us. We hear God’s voice and live through the lens of Scripture. The whole of our spiritual life is to accept the invitation from God to join him in intimacy. Intimacy with God. Intimacy with Jesus Christ. Intimacy with the Holy Spirit.
In today’s Gospel from Luke, we read about Christ returning to Nazareth. On the sabbath, he enters the synagogue and reads from the scroll. It was a passage from Isaiah about the Messiah. In this passage, Isaiah puts these words into the mouth of the coming Messiah:
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 . . . He said to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing (Lk, 4:14-21).”
Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. The shock and power of these words of Christ in today’s Gospel stop me in my tracks. Perhaps they stop you, too.
I never fully understood the reality of living the Gospel message. I get it now, and now my day to day is transformed. My day to day may not be a whole different from yours: I care for needy ones, cook, clean, drive, argue with my husband (on occasion), listen to my adult kids’ worries and challenges, pay bills, visit shut-in friends, run a little business, pay bills, and ward off the sneaky evil one, who likes to whisper in my ear and stir up stress and strife. I live in the same world as you—up is down, left is right, dark is light, and wet is dry. Anger, fear, death, division, isolation and mayhem seem to be the norm.
It does not suck the life out of me. I will not give over or give in to negativity, anger or fear. In all these years—since the beginning of time—it has always been thus. Let the storms swirl, yes, let my heart be broken, and let me suffer, for I belong to God. My God lives, and I live in and with him. I walk with him every day. So do you. Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.