Tuesday, 26 May 2015

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

It is interesting to observe how some families arrange their family altars at their homes. They would usually have a statue of Mother Mary or Jesus at a prominent place on the family altar, some rosary beads, and quite often a bible placed prominently on a stand, opened to a particular chapter and verse which may be the favourite of the family members. But the bible is not meant only to be a decorative item on the family altar, or to be kept in the study. The bible is meant to be read, and its words are meant to nurture us spiritually.

When we go for Mass, we are not only going for nourishment from the Eucharist during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are also receiving nourishment from God's Word during the Liturgy of the Word. The question is: Do you really pay attention to the readings or are you just waiting to receive Holy Communion? If we have not paid attention to the readings during the Liturgy of the Word or taken the trouble to read and study the bible, we may have left out an important aspect of the Mass, that is the Liturgy of the Word. The Liturgy of the Word is no less important than the Liturgy of the Eucharist, as both are equally important. Jesus is present in the Blessed Sacrament as well as in the word proclaimed during the first half of the Mass.

In today's Gospel, we are reminded that Jesus is the Word of God who has come "to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour." If we have not paid attention to the readings every Sunday, we may have lost out on these promises. If we are not making effort to hear God's word, we may be hearing only 'bad news' which society and our experiences choke us each day. The Good News is that in spite of all the evil that we see, hear and experience around us, God's salvation is far greater; and that Jesus, the Word of God, has conquered evil and death. Those who fail to listen to God's word continue to be imprisoned by fear and uncertainty; but Jesus promised us that He has come to proclaim liberty to the captives, and He can free us if we listen to Him. Those who fail to listen to God’s word will continue to be blind to our own mistakes and our sinfulness; but Jesus has come to set us free and give us back our sight if we cling on to His words. We are free and are able to see, if we listen to God's word and act upon it.

So what does this mean to us? It means that we should make more effort to pay attention to the Word of God. The Word of God must have a central and prominent place within the community and also be the basis of our lives. It is not enough to merely recite prayers and attend Mass. We must read and study the bible, and listen attentively to the Word of God at Mass, so that the Word of God can become our daily guide and find fulfillment in our lives. May we find spiritual nourishment from Jesus through His Word and through the Eucharist, and share His Good News to all around us.

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