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

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21.

As Jesus begins his ministry and announces his purpose, he appears to be strong, confident and clear.  How many of us were like that on our first day on the job? Our first year?

For most of us, the process of finding our purpose in life in the first place is much more difficult.  Life is complicated and it is easy to become confused.  Even if we have the same vocation for decades — parent, spouse, doctor, construction worker, etc. — the vocation changes over the years because circumstances change.

But there are messages from today’s readings that can help us.

From Saint Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we learn that are lives are interconnected, part of one body. Our gifts evolve, and these gifts and talents are important in the community.

The words of Jesus can help shape our purpose.  We can use our gifts as he did, in service to those in need.

The Mexican-American Cesar Chavez was a famous labor leader and civil rights activist, the founder of the United Farm Workers. He died about thirty years ago. The current president of the United States has an image of Chavez in his office.

Chavez created a unique path for himself and he overcame many difficulties.  His Catholic faith was a big part of the journey.  He was a very devoted Catholic, going to Mass almost every day, fasting often, invoking the intercession of Mary, and more.

Here is a prayer of his that helps us understand how he found his purpose.  May his prayer help us find our purpose in the light of Christ. 

(O God), show me the suffering of the most miserable;

so I will know my people’s plight.

Free me to pray with others;

for you are present in every person.

Help me to take responsibility for my own life;

so that I can be free at last.

Grant me the courage to struggle for justice;

for in such struggle there is true life.

Give me honesty and patience;

so that I can organize our community.

Bring forth song and celebration;

so that the Spirit will be alive among us.

Let the Spirit flourish and grow;

so that we will never tire of the struggle.

Let us remember those who have died for justice;

for they have given us life.

Help us to love even those who hate us;

so we can change the world. Amen.

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