Thursday, January 28, 2010

Preparing for the Mass - Sunday, January 31, 2010 (Cycle C)

1st Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
". . . . Before I formed you in the womb I knew you . . . . "

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm: 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15-17
I will sing of your salvation.

I love this part: "On you I depend from birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength."
This psalm is an individual lament, sung by an aged person in a time of sickness (third stanza). The afflicted one flees to God and prays for deliverance (first and second stanzas), and concludes with a vow to praise God henceforth. 
The reason for its choice today seems to be that Jeremiah frequently fled to God for refuge in face of the hostility of the kings, princes, priests, and people of Judah (first reading)
This is one of the most famous passages from the New Testament. It is read at weddings and also at funerals.
Here is my personal train of thought . . . . 
~~> The Corinthian passage is consoling to me. Why? Because I know, no matter what my failings and insignificance,  God, who is love, is ever kind and patient.       ~~> The writings of John tell us,  God is endless in mercy, not prone to anger or resentful brooding.       ~~> And which kind of love is this?  Agapē, Eros or Philia        ~~> Thoughts of love always lead me to Deus Caritas Est as explained in Pope Benedict XIV's First Encyclical      ~~> Father  Landry*5 says,
"In his first encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI takes us to the 'heart of the Christian faith' and presents us with a 'summary of the Christian life.' He described who God is, who we are, and who we're called to become: God is love, we're made in the image and likeness of that love, and our vocation is to love others as God has loved us."
Gospel: Luke 4:21-30 
  • There are at least two points of contact between the first reading and the gospel. The first is the presentation of Jeremiah and Jesus as prophets who are rejected. The second is God’s promise of protection and deliverance.
  • The historical context of the Gospel reading is very helpful. In the Mediterranean world of antiquity everyone had a proper place that was established by birth. In today’s reading Jesus is perceived by others in his village to be stepping shamefully beyond his family boundaries.
It is customary in the Mediterranean for a son to carry on his father’s trade and his grandfather’s name. The people in Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown (1:26; 2:4, 39, 51; Acts 10:38), know him and his family very well. While reducing the townspeople’s reaction to Jesus in comparison with Matthew and Mark, Luke nevertheless records their amazement. “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
Jesus stirs controversy at the very least because he does not seem to be carrying on Joseph’s trade. He is doing something different. This is a breach of family honor not readily countenanced in the Mediterranean world.   You can read more about this here.

AND! You can listen to Scott Hahn's Sunday Bible Reflection*6 here.


1 comment:

Citizen Tom said...

Very interesting. I had studied Luke 4:21-30 before, but I had not considered the historical context quite that way. We Americans do expect our children to do better than we did. We consider it a matter of pride. Yet the people of that time and place considered a child with ambition uppity.

They had little choice. They lived in a rigidly class conscious society. If parents wanted their children to survive, and if they wanted to avoid personal punishment (as the responsible party), they had to stifle each of their children's ambitions.

Nevertheless, I wonder how serious we are about not burdening our own children. Look at what we have done with Social Security and Medicare. Our burgeoning national debt makes that television commercial mentioned in the last paragraph of your historical context document a wretched joke.

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