3rd Sunday C     –     Fulfilled In Your Hearing

“I have decided to write an ordered account for you, Theophilus, so that your Excellency may learn how well founded the teaching is that you have received.” So begins St. Luke’s Gospel. And so begins our liturgical year of Luke when his Gospel will be read most Sundays until the end of November. Today’s gospel tells us that when Jesus spoke all eyes were on him. Is religion losing its moral and spiritual influence? Church attendance has plummeted. Can today’s young adults be touched by the power and beauty of the Gospel? Or has it, like tasteless salt, lost its life and verve? Or have we, like the woman at the well, lost sight of the gift of God and who it is that speaks to us? – cf. John 4:10.

I’ve heard it said that religion is caught rather than taught. And I remember Pope Benedict saying that the power of Christ and the Gospel is the power of attraction. Jesus attracts. Countless people down the centuries have been attracted to Jesus of Nazareth. His parables bring us to a new level of consciousness. New converts to Christianity often talk about a time when they had been enthused by him, when something he said or did made all the difference. Pope Francis asked recently: “Have we been stuck all too long, nestled inside a conventional, external and formal religiosity that no longer warms the heart or changes lives?”  – Rome, Feast of Epiphany, 2022

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit and, having read from the scriptures, spoke in words that penetrated to the very soul of his listeners. Here Luke starts to tell a story that would be life-changing especially for the poor, the downtrodden and all who are left behind. Jesus revealed that a new life was opening up before their eyes, now, even as they listened to him. Jesus speaks now. Luke’s story, told around AD 80, was for people who never knew Jesus and whose lives counted for nothing in the Empire. There are many people today whose lives are ripe for change and transformation. They need to listen to Jesus’ words of life and hope.

To appreciate the story of Jesus we need to go deeper than the humdrum of the everyday. The late educator and writer Gabriel Moran had this to say: “We live mostly on the surface of reality as we move through our mundane existence. But there are moments, if one is attentive to them, when there is an opening to a level of being that we are usually oblivious of. It can be a moment that is profoundly shaking such as the death of a close friend. But it might also be the scent of flowers or the sound of a voice that throws open the mind to a usually hidden universe” – What Happened to the Roman Catholic Church?

Fr. QQ – 01/19/2022




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