3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

A story was told about a group of Christian ministers and pastors discussing their favorite translations of the Bible. One preferred the Dhouay-Rheims for its beautiful English. One quipped that his is the King James Version for its easy to understand and popular. The third one suggested the New American Bible to be the best since it is directly translated from the original languages. However, when they asked the fourth one, he simply said, “I like my mother’s translation best.” They were astonished and asked him to explain further, he told them that what really touched and converted him was the manner in which his mother translated the Word of God in her daily life, especially in raising her children.

On the First Reading, Ezra emphasized how the Sacred Writings must no be a source of condemnation and cause of fear but rather a source of motivation and cause of our joy. The response of the Psalm resonates it with the affirmation that the Word of God is a life-giving spirit. In the Second Reading, Paul reminds us that no one should ever be left behind in receiving and then in turn proclaiming the Gospel. All of us are called to proclaim it according to our capacities and gifts. Everyone’s proclamation no matter how small or different is indispensable. Finally, in the Gospel. Luke assures us of the everlasting truth of everything we have been taught about Jesus and then proceeded in in recounting not only how Jesus proclaimed the scriptures but also fulfilled it by being the Good News of Salvation for everyone.

Good News can mean different things for us. To a childless couple, it is the news of a long awaited pregnancy. To a student, it is the news of good marks or the passing in an exam. To a job seeker, it is the confirmation of an application. To an OFW, the grant a vacation at home in the Philippines. To a prisoner, it is a parole. To a patient in the hospital, it is his release and recovery. In a courtship, it is the long-desired yes of a girl. The point is, let us examine our lives, determine what would be our Good News, and realize that God has only one answer to all of us, Jesus. Whatever our needs and desires are, Jesus can be our Good News if we will only open our hearts and let him fulfill whatever we need or want.

One of the most provoking images of Jesus Christ is the one of a crucified without hands. The challenge it represents is for us to be the medium through which Jesus will be proclaimed to those people we meet in our lives. We are told in the Gospel how Jesus was sent by the Spirit as a Good News for everyone, how he was meant for the improvement and betterment of everyone He met.

The Good News has always been the same. But for it to reach persons with different identities, needs and wants, we must appropriate the medium. We must translate the Gospel in everything we think, say, and do. We must let it transform us. We must embody the Gospel, we must be a Good News, we must be Jesus. This quote by Paul Gilbert aptly summarizes it:

“You are writing a Gospel,
a chapter each day
By deeds that you do,
By words that you say.

Men read what you write,
Whether faithless or true,
Say, what is the Gospel,
according to you?”

1st Reading: Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 12:12-30
Gospel: Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21

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