Homily on Third Sunday in the Ordinary

 

Homily on Third Sunday in the Ordinary

 

 

 

SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD

 

 

 

Rev. Fr. Christopher Nnubia

 

 

 

1. On September 30, 2019, the liturgical Memorial of Saint Jerome, on the inauguration of the 1600thanniversary of his death, the Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis declared every Third Sunday in Ordinary Time as the Sunday of the Word of God.

 

2. In the Gospel reading of today, the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus in Galilee is being presented to us. Jesus started his public ministry by preaching for repentance: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Then followed by the call Peter and Andrew, James and John. He declared to make Peter and Andrew fishers of men. Immediately, Peter and Andrew left their nets and followed him. James and John immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Jesus. We are followers of Jesus Christ. As followers of Christ, the Church wants us to reflect on word of God today.

 

 

 

3. Do you have your Bible here with you? If you have kindly, raise up your Bible. Do you really know what raising up now?

 

 

 

The following books describe the word of God:

 

 

 

4. Ephesians 6: 17. … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Holy Bible, the New Revised Standard Version.

 

 

 

St. Paul tell us in Ephesians 6:11 to put on the whole (full) armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. In verse 13, St. Paul says take up the whole of armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day…. The whole armour of God contains:  the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes that make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

 

 

 

5. Psalm 119: 105 says: Your (God’s) word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. HBNRSV.

 

 

 

6. Hebrews 4:12: Indeed, the word of God is living (alive) and active… HBNRSV.

 

 

 

What does your Sword of Spirit which is word of God do?

 

 

 

7. 2 Timothy 3: 16-17:  16. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17. So that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient (capable), equipped for every good work. HBNRSV

 

 

 

8. Hebrews 4:12: Indeed, the word of God is living (alive) and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. HBNRSV

 

 

 

It is not enough to know about the word of God, we must eat the word of God.

 

 

 

9. Ezekiel 3: I-3: 1. He said to me, O mortal, eat what is offered to you; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. 2. So, I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. 3. He said to me, Mortal, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was sweet as honey. HBNRSV

 

 

 

10. Revelation 10: 8-10. 8. Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” 9. So, I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll; and he said to me, “Take it, and eat; it will be bitter to your stomach, but sweet as honey in my mouth.” 10. So, I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it; it was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. HBNRSV

 

 

 

The word of God is sweet as honey in the mouth but sour or bitter in the stomach. In other words, the word of God is sweet to speak or hear but difficult to disseminate, accept or apply in our daily lives.

 

 

 

How do we eat the word of God? There are three ways to eat to eat the word of God: by praying the word of God, by studying the word of God and reading the word of God.

 

 

 

It is not enough to eat the word of God; we must be doers of the word of God.

 

 

 

11. James 1: 22-25: 22. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act – they will be blessed in their doing.

 

 

 

12. Matthew 7: 24: Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.

 

 

 

13. Mark 4: 20: And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundred-fold.

 

 

 

14.1 Thessalonians 2:13: We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.

 

 

 

In eating the word of God, we need the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church to guide and help us to understand it very well because some things in them are hard to understand.  

 

 

 

15. 2 Peter 1: 20: First of all, you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation. HBNRSV

 

 

 

16. 2 Peter 3: 16: There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. HBNRSV

 

 

 

How does the Church help us to understand the word of God?

 

 

 

CCCC means Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

 

CCCC 12. What is Apostolic Tradition? Apostolic Tradition is the transmission of the message of Christ, brought about from the very beginnings of Christianity by means of preaching, bearing witness, institutions, worship, and inspired writings. The apostles transmitted all they received from Christ and learned from the Holy Spirit to their successors, the bishops, and through them to all generations until the end of the world.

 

CCCC 13. In what ways does Apostolic Tradition occur? Apostolic Tradition occurs in two ways: through the living transmission of the word of God (also simply called Tradition) and through Sacred Scripture which is the same proclamation of salvation in written form.

 

17. 2 Thessalonians 2: 15: So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the tradition that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter. HBNRSV

 

 

 

18. Luke 1: 1-4: 1. Since many undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed. HBNRSV

 

CCCC 14. What is the relationship between Tradition and Sacred Scripture? Tradition and Sacred Scripture are bound closely together and communicate one with the other. Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ. They flow out of the same divine well-spring and together make upone sacred deposit of faith from which the Church derives her certainty about revelation.

 

CCCC 15. To whom is the deposit of faith entrusted? The Apostles entrusted the deposit of faith to the whole of the Church. Thanks to its supernatural sense of faith the people of God as a whole, assisted by the Holy Spirit and guided by the Magisterium of the Church, never ceases to welcome, to penetrate more deeply and to live more fully from the gift of divine revelation.

 

CCCC 16. To whom is given the task of authentically interpreting the deposit of faith? The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the deposit of faith has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone, that is, to the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, and to the bishops in communion with him. To this Magisterium, which in the service of the Word of God enjoys the certain charism of truth, belongs also the task of defining dogmas which are formulations of the truths contained in divine Revelation. This authority of the Magisterium also extends to those truths necessarily connected with Revelation.

 

CCCC 17. What is the relationship between Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium? Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium are so closely united with each other that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.

 

CCCC 20. What is the Canon of Scripture? The Canon of Scripture is the complete list of the sacred writings which the Church has come to recognize through Apostolic Tradition. The Canon consists of 46 books of the Old Testament and 27 of the New.

 

There are very versions of the Bible with 46 books of the Old Testament and 27 of the New: The New African Bible, Jerusalem Bible, Holy Bible, Community Bible, the Catholic Bible, (Good News Bible with Deuterocanonical Books and Good News Bible with Deuterocanonical Books/Apocrypha).

 

Good News Bible with Deuterocanonical Books and Good News Bible with Deuterocanonical Books/Apocrypha are good but there is a serious confusion which needs more clarification.

 

The Book of Daniel in the other Bibles has 14 chapters but in Good News Bible, the Book of Daniel has 12 Chapters.

 

Baruch (Chapter 6 is printed under the separate heading of the ‘Letter of Jeremiah). In the Book of Daniel, the following parts exist only in Greek: Daniel 3: 24-90 (Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men); Dn 13 (Susanna); Dn 14 (‘Bel and the Dragon’). The Book of Esther has two different forms: the short Hebrew original; and the longer Greek version that contains one hundred and seven additional verses comprising six distinct portions, A through F. The translation of the Greek portions has been inserted at the appropriate places of the translation of the Hebrew form of the book. Some of the Greek portions apparently had a Hebrew origin; the others were written in Greek (Ester (Greek).

 

Among the Apocryphal books, the Good News Bible includes I Esdras, 2 Esdras and Prayer of Manasseh

 

CCCC 24. What role does Sacred Scripture play in the life of the Church? Sacred Scripture gives support and vigour to the life of the Church. For the children of the Church, it is a confirmation of the faith, food for the soul and the fount of the spiritual life. Sacred Scripture is the soul of theology and of pastoral preaching. The Psalmist says that it is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). The Church, therefore, exhorts all to read Sacred Scripture frequently because “ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (Saint Jerome).

 

The Catholic Church is usually accused of reading the Bible. Unfortunately, some Catholics believe so. It is a big lie.

 

In the Catholic Church, there are 3 cycles of the liturgical life of the Church, Year A, B and C. The readings of Weekday and Sunday Masses for these three years is the complete Bible. In three years, the Catholic Church reads all the canons of the Sacred Scripture.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus said to us today, “Come and follow me”. At our Baptism, we accepted to follow Jesus. As our Confirmation, we become soldiers of Christ. As St Paul would say in 2 Corinthians 3: 2-3: 2. You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; 3 and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.  Together in unity, we can effectively preach the Gospel of the kingdom. The Lord is your light and your salvation. Fear not.

 

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