Homily for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Theme: The Word of God
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday January 24 2021
The Word of God is the very fount of our life and existence as sons and daughters of God. We were created by the power in the Word, redeemed by the Word of God in person, guided through this life by the Word of God and we will be judged at the end of time by the standard of the Word of God. The Word of God never ceases to speak to us and to inspire us in the Sacred Scriptures and in the sacred and living Tradition of the Church. “Lord, make us know your ways”; Amen.
Today, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Church celebrates the Sunday of the Word of God. The Word of God is central to the Spiritual Life of the Church and of all sons and daughters of God. The specific centre of the value of the Word of God is the divine origin of its Written Form (the Sacred Scriptures) inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit; and the fact of the intimate and indissoluble relationship between this Written Form and the Word of God in person, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Person of Jesus Christ the Emmanuel. This relationship is the source of power in the Word of God; the power that is always made evident by the Holy Spirit in the Sacred and Living Tradition of the Church; guiding us always to do the will of the Father. The Word of God is creative, re-creative and transformative because of this divine power it embodies. The Celebration of today is the fruit of the Apostolic Letter _Aperuit Illis_ of Pope Francis in which he designated the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time as a special day “to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God” ( _Aperuit Illis_ , n. 3). To celebrate the Word of God in a most special way on this Sunday is an invitation to re-evaluate the place it occupies in our lives as Christians and in our spiritual family the Church and to ascertain the quality of our response to the values it proposes for our daily living and sustenance. By the power in the Word we were created and by the same power we are transformed into the best version of ourselves through a sincere and penitent encounter with this power.
The people of Nineveh, who were forty days away from destruction, experienced this transformative power of the Word of God in the First Reading of today (Jonah 3:1-5,10). With their positive response to the power of God’s Word they were reborn in a new relationship with God; “and the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour, and God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.” Faith is the fundamental and ultimate response to the Word of God as we heard that the people of Nineveh believed. Not just the kind of faith that is only professed with the lips, but rather that which is both professed and put into action; making the content of the profession of faith a concretely lived experience. It was this type of faith that led the people of Nineveh to change from former ways to new ways inspired by a special encounter with the Word of God. It was also this type of faith that led the earliest apostles of Christ to leave everything and to positively respond to the call of the Word of God made flesh as we read in the Gospel (Mark 1:14-20); “and at once they left their net and followed Him”. This response of the people of Nineveh and of the apostles Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John was inspired by the clarity which faith in the Word of God gives us about this world and all that it contains; “the world as we know it is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31). To understand the futility of worldly gains is the starting point of seeking the face of God in reconciliation. Knowledge of this truth, inspired by the Word of God, is the secret of leaving everything behind to follow God Who never ceases to communicate to us in the person of His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. He speaks to us in the Scriptures! He speaks to us in the Church! He speaks to us through His ministers! He speaks to us through ordinary things of life! Are you ready to listen to what He says?
Most Holy Spirit of the Father and of the Son, it is through Your power and inspiration that we received the most precious gift of the Word of God. Fill us with Your gracious gifts and fruits to enable us understand the content of the Word of God and to concretely live it out in our lives; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE