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Homilies by Father Jaimon Dominic » Notes » Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

  • Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

    Posted by Mary Wilson January 26, 2019 - Category: Spirituality - 464 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #social  #spiritual  #material 

    HOMILY BY FR. DOMINIC ON LK 1:1-4; 4:14-21

    One day in an introductory Bible class one of the participants asked: “Why are there four Gospels rather than one?” Certainly things would look a lot easier if there was only one Gospel. Everything we read in that one Gospel would then be the gospel truth, pure and simple. Now that we have four Gospels that often differ significantly from one another, things can be quite confusing. When you come to think of it, however, you begin to realize that things would be a lot worse if we had only one Gospel. If we had only one Gospel we would think that there is only one way of understanding Jesus and how he relates to us. But now that we have four different Gospels, each of them telling a significantly different story of Jesus and his mission, it becomes easier for us to see that no story of Jesus can exhaust the whole truth of what Jesus is. As limited human beings we can only tell part of the story of God.

    This remind us of the story of the six blind men who set out to discover what the elephant is. The first blind man feels the elephant’s side and says the elephant is like a wall. The second blind man feels the elephant’s tusk and says it is like a spear. The third feels the trunk and says it is like a snake. The fourth feels the elephant’s leg and says the elephant is like a tree. The fifth feels the ear and says it is like a fan. And the sixth blind man feels the elephant’s tail and concludes that the elephant is like a rope. You could imagine the bitter disagreement that would ensue among them if they got together to discuss the nature of the elephant. Every one of them would insist that he is right and the others wrong. But the truth of the matter is: yes, he is right, but then so also are all the others. Each of them has a valid experience of the elephant but no one of them possesses the full knowledge of the total reality of the elephant. Even when you put all the six images of the elephant together it still does not capture the full mosaic of the elephant.

    After Vatican II the church’s reading of the Gospels on Sunday was revised into a three-year cycle: year A for the gospel of Matthew, year B for Mark, and year C for Luke. The gospel of John is read on certain Sundays interspersed within the three years, such as the Sundays of the Easter season. We are now in year C, the year of Luke. The question we shall be asking ourselves this year is, What aspect of the mystery of Christ does Luke highlight, as distinct from the focus of the other Gospels? A certain scholar has outlined in one word the aspect of Christ that each of the Gospels highlights. Matthew highlights the Christ of majesty (who heals by word of mouth alone, never touches people, never hungry, never angry, etc.), Mark highlights the Christ of might (who proves he is the Messiah by his acts of power and authority over natural and demonic forces), Luke highlights the Christ of mercy (who reaches out to the poor, the outcasts, foreigners and women) and John highlights the Christ of mystery (who was with the Father from all eternity and who has come into the world to reveal this hidden mystery, the truth that leads to life).

    Today we begin reading the Gospel of Luke. In his opening preface (1:1-4) Luke tells us why he wrote the gospel. It was to explain to Theophilus, probably a Roman official, what Christianity was all about. Have you ever tried to explain to someone what Christianity is all about? Many people think that Christianity is all about sin and judgment, heaven and hell; and that God is a heavenly policeman who is constantly monitoring our movements, writing down all our sins in His book and waiting to throw us into hellfire as soon as He catches up with us. Luke sees it all differently. For him Christianity has more to do with God’s love and mercy than with punishment.

    That is why, in telling Theophilus about the Christian faith, Luke finds the incident in the synagogue in Nazareth very useful. In this incident found only in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus makes a solemn declaration of his mission in the world. We can call it the Jesus Manifesto. People who initiate a revolution usually start off with a declaration of their manifesto. Karl Mark started by publishing the Communist Manifesto. Martin Luther started off with the publication of the 95 theses in Wittenberg. Jesus has come to start a revolution of mercy and love in the world. And here in today’s Gospel reading he publishes the Christian manifesto: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”. (4:18-19)

     Dear friends, we find in Luke’s gospel that Jesus is concerned not only with the spiritual aspects of human life but also with the material and social aspects. As Christians we should not only be concerned with saving people’s souls, we should also be concerned with saving their bodies, their health, their housing and their jobs. The Good News is not only for the soul, it is also for the body. The Good News is for every person and for the whole person, body and soul.

    Image by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr