Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 26, 2020 – Year A
Readings: Is 8:23-9:3 / Ps 27 / 1 Cor 1:10-13, 17 / Mt 4:12-23
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Not too long ago, I was waiting in the lobby of Norfolk General Hospital with former parishioners who were the family of a patient who requested the Sacrament of the Sick. A member of the clergy who was wearing clerical attire exactly as I was wearing that day, passed by. They asked, “Father, do you know that priest?” I said, “No, and I am about 95% sure that he is not a Catholic priest.” They asked, “Why would you say that?” I answered, “Because he is carrying a really big Bible, on the way to visit a patient in the hospital.”
I love my brother priests, and even though we are not exactly the Bible-carrying type, I know that we priests and deacons read the Bible every single day. In fact, we all read the scriptures seven times a day as part of the Liturgy of the Hours.
Today, the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, has been established by Pope Francis as the Sunday of the Word of God. For those of you who are sitting a little closer to the altar, you may have already noticed that we have a Holy Bible here in front of the altar, to remind ourselves of the importance of God’s words, not only in our liturgical celebrations, but in our lives. Time and again, our Holy Mother Church will remind us to know God better, to love Him more. There is no better way of getting to know the Lord God than reading and listening to His living words in the sacred scriptures.
I have been asked several times in the past as to what I think is the central message of our Lord Jesus, if we could condense all of His teachings into a few words. Many scripture scholars agree that it is the verse which is a part of the gospel which we have just heard from St. Matthew, when Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The Lord Jesus has taught us many things so we can be closer to God and understand who He is and who we are in relation to Him. But He emphasized the fact that the kingdom of heaven is within our reach; it is right here, right now. In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul said our citizenship is in heaven. This passage doesn’t mean that we can only be a part of God’s kingdom when we get to heaven. Yes, it is true that the kingdom of God currently exists in heaven, but it also includes in all the nations and peoples here on earth.
As the apostle John saw in a vision which is related to us in the book of Revelation, the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever. What a privilege it is for all of us to not only be a part of God’s kingdom here on earth, but to become members of the mystical body of Christ, the Church, and brothers and sisters of our Lord.
As children of God, we should at least try to spend a few minutes each day in reading the scriptures so we can know better our Father in heaven, His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. By doing this, we will be able to see the light in the midst of the darkness of this world.
The author Philip Yancey tells an interesting anecdote about Nicola Tesla, the scientist who invented the method of generating electricity in what we call alternating current. He relates that, during storms, Tesla would sit on the couch by the window. When lightning struck, he would applaud. Tesla could certainly appreciate better than anyone the wonder of lightning, because he had spent years researching electricity. In the same way, the more we know God and His words in the sacred scriptures, the more we will appreciate His mighty power in all the works of His creation.