Reflection 1-30-2022

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

The following words are from II Timothy 3: 16-17:  “All Scripture (please note that “all”) is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults and giving instruction for right living…”  So there is no doubt about Scripture’s value as a teaching tool. But there are times when we come upon a situation like the Three Reading selections for this weekend’s Mass.  They happen to be so rich “soul food” (not meant as an ethnic reference) that it is difficult for the homilist to decide what to stress, especially with a time constraint.

For me, the startling piece from Jeremiah is enough for a homily.  It is the most touching way to describe the intimacy between God and each one of us.  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”  “Wow!”  I think to myself.  “Am I really that well known by God?”  “Does God consider me worthwhile?”  Jeremiah mouths His response: “He does!” Alleluia!

Moving on to the Second Reading, we have the
immortal description of love provided by the Holy Spirit working through St. Paul’s Letter.  So powerful, so all encompassing, as to leave in the dust all the poets and songwriters to follow. Many engaged couples want this read at their Nuptial Mass, perhaps for themselves and all present for the occasion, to hear loudly and clearly what their upcoming vows mean in the long run. I wonder if the divorce rate would plunge if a plaque inscribed with this section of I Corinthians was placed outside our nation’s courts.

Finally we come to the aftermath of Our Lord’s visit to His hometown synagogue and how His words transformed the little crowd in the room into a lynch mob.  So sad.  So awful that even we can become with our adverse reactions to certain truths. Thank God Jesus overturns the murder verdict of the mob and calmly walks away.

Three Readings. Three conclusions. A demanding trinity of decisions for us to make on a January Sunday.  That’s the power of the Bible. And if we take the time to read it in between the Sundays, we could learn so much more that Google and Wikipedia have to tell us.  Then we could learn in detail God’s plan for the world; how He prepared for Christ’s coming in the Old Testament and what Christ said and did when He came. Then we could write our own homily and decide to act on it. So simple. So salvific.  After all, “a Bible that’s falling apart often belongs to someone who isn’t.”

God love you and give you His peace.

Reading I:  Jeremiah 1: 4-5, 17-19:  After Jeremiah, it became a generally accepted idea that God Himself forms the young child in its mother’s womb.  A personal God thus knows us personally as well.

Reading II:  I Corinthian 12: 31 – 13: 13, or I Cor. 13: 4-13:  The immortal description of true love as understood by God.  Most popular among the choices for Readings proclaimed at Nuptial Masses.

The Gospel:  Luke 4: 21-30: “Today” in this context meant for all time, not just the historical time of Jesus’ earthly life.  Jesus becomes the “rejected prophet.”