A Preferential Option for the Poor! – Sunday Synopsis

Justine John Dyikuk

Justine John Dyikuk

Shikrot Mpwi – Sunday Synopsis with Fr. JustineJ.Dyikuk 

Third Sunday of the Year C – January 23, 2022.                                                                                     

Readings: Nehemiah 8:2-6,8-10; Responsorial Psalm 18:8-10,15; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 & Gospel Luke 1:1-4,4:14-21.

Theme: A Preferential Option for the Poor!

Sunday Synopsis

The first reading recounts how Ezra the priest presented the Law to the generality of the children of Israel. The second reading presents us with an analogy of the body working in unison as a metaphor for the Church, the body of Christ comprising of various apostolates. St. Paul notes that if one part of the body is hurt, all parts are hurt with it and if one part is given special honour, all the parts enjoy it. In the gospel, St. Luke reveals that they were ministers of the Word from the outset. He emphasized that with the power of the spirit, Jesus came to Nazara where he was brought up and went into the synagogues where the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed him and he read it. Nourished by the liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist, we are charged to make a deliberate option for the poor thus fulfilling the demands of the liturgy of life.

Introduction

Friends in Christ, today the Church presents us with an opportunity to relish the Word of God even as it is daily been fulfilled in our lives. What is more, our liturgy affords us the privilege of celebrating the word of God. This reflection titled, “A Preferential Option for the Poor” explores the background and summary of the readings, essential components of the liturgy and pastoral lessons.

Background & Summary of the Readings

The first reading (Nehemiah 8:2-6,8-10) recounts how Ezra the priest presented the Law to the generality of the children of Israel (men, women and children) on the first day of the seventh month. It tells how he read the Word from early morning till noon noting that the people listened attentively. It further narratives that the people prostrated themselves before the Lord when Ezra read from the wooden dais erected for the proclamation the Word.

While Ezra the priest ceased the opportunity to translate and give sense to the Word so that the people will understand, Nehemiah the leader of the people including the Scribes and Levites dedicated the day to the Lord as the people cried. They proclaimed the day as a day of joy for the people but emphasized that the people should be generous by sharing their meal with those who do not have.

The second reading (1 Corinthians 12:12-30) presents us with an analogy of the body working in unison as a metaphor for the Church, the body of Christ comprising of various apostolates like those of apostles, prophets, teachers and others who work miracles, heal, lead, help and speak in tongues. St. Paul notes that if one part of the body is hurt, all parts are hurt with it and if one part is given special honour, all the parts enjoy it.

In the gospel (Luke 1:1-4,4:14-21), St. Luke reveals that they were ministers of the Word from the outset. He further discloses that he decided to write about Jesus to tell Theophilus how well founded the teaching he received is. He emphasized that with the power of the spirit, Jesus came to Nazara where he was brought up and went into the synagogues where the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed him and he read it: “The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.” Luke surmised that he said, “This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen” as all eyes in the synagogues were fixed on him.

Essential Components of Holy Mass

Liturgy of the Word

The liturgy of the word, also known as the ministry of the word, takes three forms namely, liturgy, catechesis and scripture reading. The liturgy charges Christians to be at the service of the word by being committed to the word who is Jesus. Just as the early apostles continued to devote themselves to prayer and the service of the word (Acts 6:3-4), the word which is proclaimed provides a leeway for Christians to like Christ, heal, instruct, reconcile and show love. Like Jesus, it enables Christians to communicate effectively in a way that the power of such words comes out powerfully.

As we saw in the case of Ezra the priest and Jesus, the pulpit is the designated place for the proclamation of the word of God. It is also the rightful place where those who belong to the ministerial priesthood proclaim and break the word of God. Members of the laity especially Lectors, Cantors, Masters of Ceremony or Commentators are heralds (communicators) of the Good News. They communicate the message of Christ to the faithful. At other times, members of the laity preach the Good News to one another in the various pious societies or sodalities they belong to.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

The Eucharistic liturgy is the sacrifice of the cross that is re-enacted in an unbloody manner by the Church following the command of Christ “Do this in memory of me (Luke 22:19). The liturgy of the Eucharist is the reenactment of the sacrifice of Holy Mass on Holy Thursday when Christ instituted the Apostles as priests of the New Covenant (John Paul II, 2003). Eucharistic liturgy is the source and summit of our Christian lives and existence (Sacosanctum Concilium, no.10).

Though this sacrifice was made once and for all at Calvary, it is repeated in the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass in an unbloody manner following the command of Christ. Every time Holy Mass is celebrated, the full effects of Calvary come to the fore as the atonement of sins is achieved through anamnesis. This means that the people of God are at liberty to always approach the table of the Lord with confidence to communicate and or commune with God in the Eucharist.

Liturgy of Life            

This is a response to the doxology – “Go in the Preach of Christ” which mandates the faithful to be salt of the earth and light of the world. It demonstrates the fact that the Eucharistic liturgy has the potency to empower the faithful towards integrating church life and practical life.

Pastoral Lessons

  1. Prioritize Sunday Worship: That the Israelites met on the first day of the seventh month challenges us to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy bearing in mind that if we miss Sunday Mass except for sickness or taking care of the sick or aged, we have committed a mortal sin which requires sacramental confession.
  2. Preach Diligently: That Ezra the priest ceased the opportunity to translate and give sense to the word for the people to understand calls pastors of souls to preach in simple and clear language that the people will understand bearing in mind the example set by Jesus in the gospel and in his life and ministry.
  3. Take to Collaborative Ministry: The presence of Nehemiah the leader of the people including the Scribes and Levites as well as St. Paul’s analogy of the Church with various parts of the body working in unison reveals the expected synergy between the clergy and lay people and the relationship between the Church and the State which invites us to take to collaborative ministry.
  4. Make a Preferential Option for the Poor: That the Israelites were charged to be generous through sharing their meal with those who do not have reminds us about the liturgy of life namely, bearing the fruits of the Holy Mass in the day to day events of our lives through a deliberate preferential option for the poor like Archbishops Oscar Romero and Helder Camara of El Salvador and Brazil respectively.
  5. Celebrate the Liturgy with Decorum: The message of the first reading and gospel propels pastors of souls to pay attention to celebrating the liturgy with decorum in such a manner that God’s power would be manifest towards sanctification and salvation.

Summary Lines

  1. The first reading recounts how Ezra the priest presented the Law to the generality of the children of Israel.
  2. The second reading presents an analogy of the body working in unison as a metaphor for the Church, the body of Christ comprising of various apostolates.
  3. St. Paul notes that if one part of the body is hurt, all parts are hurt with it and if one part is given special honour, all the parts enjoy it.
  4. In the gospel, St. Luke reveals that they were ministers of the Word from the outset.
  5. He emphasized that with the power of the spirit, Jesus came to Nazara where he was brought up and went into the synagogues where the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed him and he read it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the cry of the people at hearing the word of God challenges us to be sober when we hear God’s Word in Church so as to reform and not view preaching as a form of entertainment. The rapt attention of the people who listened attentively from early morning to noon urges us to spend quality time with the Lord bearing in mind the scripture which says: “One day in the house of the Lord is better than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalm 84:10). May the Holy Spirit inspire us to fulfill the practical dimensions of the liturgy. Amen!

 

 

Our motto is: ‘We stand for the truth, irrespective of who tells it’. Driven by this philosophy, our aim has been to create a platform where every voice, every narrative – provided they are decently expressed –  is allowed expression. Our belief is that by promoting unfettered competition of ideas, the truth will eventually emerge. Obviously, doing this while resisting any temptation to be captured by any special interest or tendency makes survival as an online newspaper more challenging. This is why we will appreciate any support from our readers:

Bank details:

Account Name: The News Chronicle
Bank: UBA
Account No.: 1022603956 (Naira)

Domiciliary Account  – dollar-denominated:
Bank:  UBA
Account Number: 3002835294 ($)

Please email details of your bank transfer to: publisher@thenews-chronicle.com or send them by WhatsApp to: 07058078841

Professor Jideofor Adibe

Publisher

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts

ADVERTISEMENT

What's New?

ADVERTISEMENT

Recommended