31 January 2010


31 JANUARY 2010. Today the Church celebrates Sunday of the fourth week in ordinary time. Our time after the Epiphany is drawing shorter as we continue towards the season of Lent.

The readings for today's mass are found here. Both the second reading from the Saint Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians and the Gospel reading from the Gospel of Saint Luke are continuations of where last Sunday's passages left off. Where last Sunday's second reading ended in a question, today's reading picks up from that point and goes on to tell us of the qualities of love. Where last Sunday's Gospel ended with Christ's proclamation of His fulfilling the scripture passage from Isaiah, today's Gospel tells us of the people's fury and attempt to drive Jesus off of the hill on which the town was located.

However, the first reading is a new theme for this week. In the first reading from the Book of Jeremiah we hear the Word of the LORD speaking to Jeremiah. That is, Jesus, the Word, is speaking to Jeremiah. And, what Jeremiah learns is that before he was born the Lord knew him and loved him. The Lord commands Jeremiah to stand up to the people of Judah and preach to them as He commands. To steal Jeremiah's hesitancy, the Lord says He will make Jeremiah "a fortified city,a pillar of iron, a wall of brass" before all those who might defeat him. At the conclusion of the reading the Lord tells Jeremiah that although the people of Judah will resist him, the Lord will deliver him.

In the same manner that the Word speaks to Jeremiah in today's first reading, so to does the Lord Jesus Christ speak to each of us in the Eucharist today. Before we were born, the Lord knew each of us. Consider this, on the cross our Lord thought of each of us and understood the depth of the sacrifice He offered, not just generally for all humanity, but, more particularly, for each and every one of us whom He knows (then and now) by name. Today,by our reception of His Body and His Holy Blood, each of us takes within ourselves the very presence of Christ, through which the Lord will deliver us. Certainly too our world today resists the Gospel message, but we are called to be disciples of Christ and proclaim it with our lives and our words. The Lord, by His sacrifice on Calvary and through the Eucharist, steals us as "a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of brass" as Jeremiah was strengthened. In fact, even better, for those who correctly receive Holy Communion in accord with the Church's teachings.

As prophesied in the Old Testament, in the Gospel passage the people not only resist the message of Jesus, but they actually, in their fury, try to physically harm Him. Reaction to His words in the synagogue were strong indeed. But, Christ was preserved by the Lord. "Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away."

The Lord delivers each of us in our time of need. It is said frequently: God's grace is always sufficient. The nature of God, Himself, is described for us in the Second Reading's description of love. For God is love, and as we hear today: "[l]ove never fails."

So I pray today that each of us will place our faith in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that each of us will truly make ourselves offerings of thanksgiving to the Lord for His grace and protection.

Prayer After Communion
(from the Daily Roman Missal for today's mass)

you invigorate us with this help to our salvation.
By this eucharist give the true faith continued growth
throughout the world.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.


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