“Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.”
Psalm 19 (cf. John 6:63c)
The Book of Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10
The First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 12:12-30
Gospel according to Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21
by Sister Dorothy Jean Beyer, OSB
"Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” This famous and inspiring quote is from the French philosopher and Jesuit priest, Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. What a beautiful saying to remind us that we will find our joy in the Lord. I found that the word “joy,” though it depends on the translation, occurs 182 times in the Bible. Joy is very significant in our spiritual life.
Our readings for this Third Sunday in Ordinary Time remind us to be joyful disciples of Jesus. In the first reading today, the people were instructed, after the reading of the law, that “Today is holy to the Lord your God. Do not be sad and do not weep...” and that “rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength.” Joy can indeed be our strength and our support in the times of distress. Checking with the definition of “joy” on google, I found a thought-provoking explanation: “True joy is a limitless, life-defining, transformative reservoir waiting to be tapped into. It requires the utmost surrender and, like love, is a choice to be made.” Joy comes from the Holy Spirit. Think about this deeply and choose to be joyful. It will make all difference in your life and in your relationship with God, yourself, and others. We can change the world with joy.
In the beautiful second reading, St. Paul writes that we are Christ’s body. “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” We have a huge responsibility to be concerned for one another. Reflect on this magnificent truth and share your joy in honoring one another.
Jesus in the Gospel proclaims his mission in the synagogue. Take some time to re-read this passage in Luke. Notice that Jesus is called “to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,…” All of these actions bring joy and glad tidings to God’s people. We are also called to take up the same mission of Jesus in our lives. If we did, what a joyful world we would have!! Let us express our joy more clearly and strongly. Just start with a smile. It is contagious. Let’s find out…
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“But as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.” Prologue 49
“The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, and to proclaim liberty to captives.” Cf. Luke 4:18