Readings and Reflection for Sunday January 23, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time


They read from the book, from the law of God, and they gave the sense.
A reading from the Book of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10)

In those days: Ezra the priest brought the law before the assemble, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law.  And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people; and when he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God; and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands, and they bowed their heads and worshipped the LORD with their faces in the ground. And Ezra and the Levites read from the book, from the law of God, clearly; and they gave the sense, so the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people.  “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep, “For all the people mourn and weep.” For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law.  then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

The word of the Lord

Responsorial PSALM  Psalm 19: (R/. John 6:63c)
R/. Your words, O Lord, are Spirit and life.

The law of the Lord is perfect; 
it revives the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are steadfast;
they give wisdom to the simple. R/.

The precepts of the Lord are right; 
they gladden the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear;
it gives light to the eyes. R/.

R/. Your words, O Lord, are Spirit and  life.

The fear of the LORD is pure,
abiding forever.
The judgements of the Lord are true;
they are, all of them, just. R/.

May the spoken words of my mouth, 
the thoughts of my heart,
win favour in your sight, O Lord,
my rock and my redeemer! R/.

You are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12: I 2-30)

Brethren: Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make  it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single organ, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those parts of the body which we think less honourable we invest with the greater honour, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so adjusted the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior part, that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the Church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA Luke 4:18
Alleluia. The Lord has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives. Alleluia

“Today this Scripture has been fulfilled. ”
The beginning of the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 1 : 1 – 4; 4:14-21)

In as much as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed. At that time: Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as was his custom, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was  given to him the  Book  of the Prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

The fathers of the second Vatican council called for an active participation of all the faithful in the liturgical celebration. That call is meant to strengthen our relationship with God, who is made more present in the celebration of the liturgy. While Ezra, the priest, is reading the scripture from the book of the law,”… the ears of all the people are attentive” (Neh 8:3). Do you open your mouth to sing in the church when others are singing, or pray when they are praying, or join in the responses required of you? Do you pay adequate attention to the word of God while it is read and allow it to penetrate into your being and affect your life? Remember that Jesus is that word of God incarnate. This word declares today in the Gospel that his mission is that of provision and liberation (Luke 4:18-19) for those who are ready to receive him.


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