Homily for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: The Word of God
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday January 26 2020
The Word of God is at the heart of all we do as Christians. The Word of God that existed from eternity; the Word through Whom all things were created; the Word of God that was spoken to the children of God through the messages of the prophets; the Word of God Who took flesh in the womb of the holy Virgin in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ when the fullness of time came; the Word of God that lived among us full of grace and truth and of the Holy Spirit that He went about doing good; the Word of God through Whom we are saved; the Word of God that left Himself for us palpably in the Holy Eucharist; the word of God passed on in the living Sacred Tradition of the Church and written down in the Holy Scripture by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; the Word of God that was entrusted to the Church for propagation by the power of the Holy Spirit, preached and meditated upon by the apostles, the fathers and the saints and which continues to guide and nourish the lives of all of God’s sons and daughters throughout the ages; the Word of God that is the lamp for our feet and the guide for our steps! May the Word of God richly dwell and flourish in us and make of us legible letters and exegeses of Himself wherever we find ourselves; Amen.
On the 30th of September 2019, the Holy Father Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter, _Aperuit Illis_ , in which he established the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time of every Liturgical Year to be hence forth known and celebrated as _The Sunday of the Word of God_ . This move was to bring the attention of the faithful to the centrality of the Word of God to Christian life and to the pursuit of holiness in such a way that “that the life of our people be constantly marked by this decisive relationship with the living word that the Lord never tires of speaking to his Bride, that she may grow in love and faithful witness” (cf. Pope Francis, _Aperuit Illis_ , n. 3). The Word of God in it written form, either in Sacred Scripture or in the Sacred Tradition of the Church, is inspired by Holy Spirit. It is this same Spirit that guides the Church, the Custodian of the Word of God, and her ministers, in faithfully handing on and properly interpreting this Word through the centuries in the mind of Christ. There is always the erroneous tendency to limit the Word of God to the Sacred Scriptures. This is a limitation that has continued to evolve into new forms since the period of the Reformation with its celebrated slogan of _sola scriptura-Scripture alone_ . Like a living bird, the Word of God has two wings, namely, the Sacred Scriptures (made up of the Old and the New Testaments) and the Sacred Tradition of the Church (made up of Doctrines of the Chruch, Devotions of the Church and the Disciplines of the Church). However, much more than a bird, the Word of God is both life and life-giving. Just like no bird can fly with one wing, so also no Christian can entirely savour the depth of the deposit of the truths of the Christian faith without Scripture and Tradition held together; because “we frequently risk separating sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition, without understanding that together they are the one source of Revelation. The written character of the former takes nothing away from its being fully a living word; in the same way, the Church’s living Tradition, which continually hands that word down over the centuries from one generation to the next, possesses that sacred book as the supreme rule of her faith” (cf. Pope Francis, _Aperuit Illis_ , n. 11). Saint Paul, affirming the inseparability of this two in his letter to the Thessalonians wrote “stand firm, then, brothers and sisters, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess 2:15).
The purpose of the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God is to bring us closest to the very fount of our faith and to lead us to true conversion and a movement away from darkness into the wonderful and brilliant Light of God; the Light that never ceases to shine through the Word of God. This movement was the case with the people of the prophecy of Isaiah in the First Reading of today (Is 8:23-9:3); “the people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.” Every encounter with the Word of God changes our orientation for good and helps us to grow more enlightened in the light of faith. This faith is one just as we have one Saviour, Jesus Christ the Emmanuel, and the goal is also one which is to live in eternity with our Heavenly Father and Creator. Our faith is never partisan and neither discriminatory nor disintegratory; because in Christ we have become One Family of God bonded together by the seal of the Holy Spirit. Hence, in the words of Saint Paul in the Second Reading, “for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must make up the differences between us, and instead of disagreeing among ourselves, to be united again in our belief and practice” (I Cor 1:10-13, 17). This invitation is very necessary because Jesus Christ is the one who has called all of us and He is our principle of unity. Himself is the Word of God in person, and calling us to be His disciples, He has empowered us to make Himself (the Word of God) known to the whole world preaching in His name and after His example in the Gospel of today (Mt 4:12-23) “repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is close at hand.” When we bring the Word of God to others, in words and in deeds, we bring God to them and we make God surer of us and we affirm that “the Lord is our light and our help.”
May the power in the Word of God transform and transfigure us into faithful and fruitful ambassadors of the same Word through Whom we are made and redeemed; Amen. Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE