Being Ambitious for Higher Gifts! – Sunday Synopsis

Justine John Dyikuk

Justine John Dyikuk

Fourth Sunday of the Year, C – January 30, 2022. 

Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19; Responsorial Psalm 70:1-6,15,17;

1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13 & Gospel Luke 4:21-30.

Our first reading reveals that  in the days of King Josiah, the word of the Lord assured of divine knowledge, divine consecration and divine appointment for his elect. In the second reading, St. Paul charged the Corinthians to seek after higher gifts. It highlights love/charity as a springboard for those lofty gifts. In the gospel, Jesus reproves his people for their unbelief and maintained that “no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.” Citing the heroic faith of foreigners like the widow of Zarephath and the Syrian Naaman, the liturgy challenges us to be clothed in charity as we seek for higher gifts.

Introduction

Beloved in Christ, our liturgy this Sunday urges us to brace up for action even as we seek for higher gifts. Our readings are a wake-up call for us to stand up for something really lofty and worth it.  The saying “if you don’t stand up for something, you will fall for everything” comes to the fore. This reflection would scan through the summary of the readings so as to ascertain the pastoral lessons.

Background & Summary of the Readings

Our first reading (Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19) reveals that  in the days of King Josiah, the word of the Lord assured of divine knowledge, divine consecration and divine appointment for his elect. It further challenges the consecrated to brace up for action and tell the people what the Lord has commanded. It further assures that the Lord would fortify his elect and deliver them.

In the second reading (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13) St. Paul charged the Corinthians to seek after higher gifts. It highlights love/charity as a springboard for those lofty gifts stressing that: “Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.” It surmises that “Love does not come to an end” and that “there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.”

In the gospel (Luke 4:21-30), Jesus reproves his people for their unbelief and maintained that “no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.” He goes ahead  to laud the heroic faith of foreigners like the widow of Zarephath and the Syrian Naaman. When they heard that, they wanted to kill him but he slipped from their midst.

Pastoral Lessons

  1. Protect Life: By establishing God’s divine knowledge, divine consecration and divine appointment upon us, the first reading invites us realise the sacredness of life before, during and after conception and also protect life.
  2. Seek Higher Gifts: In a materialistic world, Christians are called upon to measure their spiritual lives on faith, hope and love knowingly fully well that the greatest of these is love.
  3. Speak the Truth: In particular, priests and religious need to brace up for action by telling the people what the Lord has commanded them to and not the other way round.
  4. Pray for Missionaries: Since Jesus has assured that “no prophet is ever accepted in his own country,” we ought to pray for missionaries who are having a hard time working among their people for God to guide and strengthen them.
  5. Embrace Salvation: By using the heroic faith of foreigners like the widow of Zarephath and the Syrian Naaman, Jesus is challenging all Gentiles that salvation is a free gift to be appropriated by anyone.

Summary Lines

  1. Our liturgy this Sunday urges us to brace up for action even as we seek for higher gifts.
  2. It assures that the Lord would fortify his elect and deliver them.
  3. The second reading charges the Corinthians to seek after higher gifts.
  4. “There are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.”
  5. In the gospel Jesus reproves his people for their unbelief and maintained that “no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.”

Conclusion

In conclusion, today’s liturgy challenges us to shun complacency. It invites us to brace up for action on the one hand and to be ambitious for higher gifts on the other.  As individuals and a Church, we are cautioned against all anti-life activities because created us and knows our inmost being.  As we strive to follow the Lord on the royal road of the cross, we pray that he may help us to stand for him and seek after holiness.  Have a blessed week!

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