3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sunday of the Word of God) — Deacon Newton’s Homily

Deacon Gary – Homily 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel today states that Jesus read the following from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” After Jesus finished reading from Isaiah, he went on to say that, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus was saying that he was the anointed one. We as followers of Christ are also anointed at Baptism and Confirmation. What is the significance of us being anointed?

Did you ever ask yourself, why did God make me? Why am I here? What is the purpose of my existence? We define God as love. What is love if not shared, if not experienced through relationships with others? Our goal in life is an everlasting relationship with God in heaven which Jesus taught us starts here on earth, with all our brothers and sisters.

Our goal is not to be rich and famous, it is not about having power over others. Jesus spent the first 30 years of his life in obscurity. He lived an ordinary life as a carpenter. Living an ordinary life was Christ’s example to us coupled with an extraordinary focus of unconditional love.

He brought this message to the world in the last 3 years of his life. He wasn’t about pomp and circumstance as when he performed a miracle he would say not to tell anyone. He was about making a personal connection with others, forming a relationship with him and God the Father, through acts of love.

All the readings today focus on proclaiming the Word of God. Jesus came to show us the way to the Father. We were made in God’s image and likeness, to love and to be loved. To share this great gift of God himself, we are to spread the Word of God as Jesus taught us. We are to form a personal relationship of love with Jesus and through our example of living the Word of God, lead others to do the same.

Our purpose in life is to be an extension of God’s love in the world. We are anointed to continue the work of Christ. But we are not meant to do it alone but in communion with others as we are all one body in Christ. The Second Reading today makes it very clear that we are individuals with unique gifts to share but are all also parts of the same body of Christ. To sustain that body we must all work together.

Some people will look at how many worldly things they have accumulated during their lifetime as a way of measuring their accomplishments in life. The real measurement of how well we lived our lives is based on whose lives we have touched. Did you make a positive difference in someone’s life? Have you brought them closer to God?

We cannot bring any material wealth with us when we go to heaven. The only thing we bring with us is the love we shared with others. We all need to take a close look at ourselves and ask the hard question of how we have made a positive impact on other people’s lives.

If you were allowed to pack a suitcase to go to heaven with a sampling of the good things you did for others during your lifetime, what would you put in your suitcase?

There is an old saying that heaven’s streets are paved with gold. Once upon a time there was a man who died and was allowed to pack a suitcase to go to heaven. The man had packed the suitcase with gold bars as he felt that the massive wealth he attained was his most valuable accomplishment and would also be valuable in heaven. When he got to the pearly gates Saint Peter said that he had to check what was in the suitcase before he could enter. Saint Peter opened the suitcase and asked the man a curious question. He asked, why did you pack paving stones?

If Saint Peter will be looking for acts of love to be inside the suitcase that we pack for heaven, what would we want him to find? What changes in our lives do we need to make now to be able to fill the suitcase with loving acts? We are called by Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit through our anointing to spread the Word of God, to be Christ in the world, to love one another unconditionally as God loves us.

Jesus had performed many acts of love during his 3 years of ministry through miracles like recovery of sight to the blind, expelling unclean spirits, healing those with leprosy, healing the crippled, and even raising those that had died, but we can be sure that his 30 years of ordinary life was filled with many ordinary acts of loving kindness and mercy as we are all capable of doing.

Let’s start each day in our ordinary lives as Jesus did throughout his life, doing our ordinary things with extraordinary love so people will experience Jesus, the Word of God, through us. We are Christ’s hands and feet in the world, as we are all one body in the body of Christ. We are called to make his presence known to all we meet each and every day.

Each morning when you get up, pray to be the light of Christ to those you meet throughout your day. You might ask, how can you be the light of Christ in the world? The answer is in the ordinary. A smile, a loving gesture, a caring word can open doors to the heart and soul of those most in need, allowing the light of Christ to enter.

Let us draw inspiration from the guiding words of the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

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