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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time — Jan. 22, 2023

Bishop’s Reflections

January 22, 2023

Every Sunday, Bishop Edward Malesic writes a Scripture reflection for the faithful. Follow the bishop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click HERE for the readings.

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time — Jan. 22, 2023

Jesus is the Word of God. The Gospel of John begins this way: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.” (Jn 1:1-3) So, God spoke a word and all the stuff of the heavens and the earth was made.

Then the Gospel of John says, “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (Jn 1:14) It is this Word of God living among us, Jesus, in all of his creative and life-giving power who called out to Peter and Andrew, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” These fishermen were not the types who would give up everything to follow a person who was still a stranger to them. Yet, we are told, “At once they left their nets and followed him.”

The same happened when Jesus called out to James and John. They left their profession and their family without hesitation: “Immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.”

Someone has said that the immediate and life-altering response of these four apostles was the first miracle Jesus performed in the Gospel of Matthew. What else could explain their decision to leave it all behind for the request of an unknown man? But are we surprised? The Word that made the heavens and the earth can remake the life of anyone who hears Jesus with the ears of faith. In an instant, the stuff of creation was made. In an instant, these men went from fishermen to followers. We can hear the word and be changed too! The Word, who is Jesus, is powerful, creative, liberating and life-altering.

Several years ago, our Holy Father Pope Francis declared that the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (today) would be called the Sunday of the Word of God.

Catholics who attend Mass every Sunday, or even every day, come to know the breadth and depth of sacred Scripture. If we take our faith seriously, we also spend time reading the Bible at home on a regular basis. Oh, we might not be able to quote it by chapter and verse, but the word of God sinks into our bones, if we have ears to hear it with faith and devotion. It becomes a part of us, changes us.

Now, some questions: Have we actually met Jesus in the word he speaks to us in sacred Scripture? Have we answered his call to repent and follow him in the way that he directs? Have we made him our divine king, living according to the culture of his kingdom, not the world’s? Does Jesus make a difference in our lives?

My guess is that if you are reading this you have already been changed by the Word made flesh. Not that any of us are done yet. We must continually turn ourselves in the direction of the word spoken to us until we finally see the Lord face to face. That time will come. Let’s not give up hope on that promise.

But yes, we have met the Lord. We consume him in the Eucharist at Mass. We see his handiwork when we look up at the stars of the universe. We experience his forgiveness in sacramental confession. We hear him speak to us heart to heart every time we pick up a Bible and read from it. Jesus speaks his word to us in so many different ways.

Now, what did John, one of the first to be called by Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel today, write of him much later in his own Gospel? He said, “And we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14) We hope to see and say the same.

Have a blessed week everyone.

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