3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A



The week of January 18-25, 2014 is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – a time when we focus on what unites Christians of various denominations and when we put aside the differences and those things that divide us.  Christ knew that there would exist within His Body, the Church, divisions, hence his final prayer before He Ascended to the Father as we hear in the 17th Chapter of John: And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.  Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.  (Jn 17:11)  This final prayer predicts with great precision the fact that the Name of Jesus will be a source of division in the world.  Countries have gone to war over His Name and, in some parts of the world, it is forbidden to utter His Holy Name.  It is a sad reality that division exists in the world; in our homes and workplaces and in point of fact, just about everywhere we allow it to persist.  In the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians, Paul takes up the issue of division with those living at Corinth.  He writes a powerful letter pleading with the Corinthians to be a source of unity.  He writes, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.” (1Cor. 1:10) The fledging Community at Corinth must have been a complete mess if Paul is forced to use such harsh language as he seeks to bring about stability.  How about this community in Dartmouth?  Are we united in the Name of Jesus Christ?  Are we a source of building up the Kingdom of God or are we a source of division?  We can build up God’s Kingdom when we welcome back the lost and forsaken; when we embrace the stranger; when we accept someone as Christ would expect us to accept them.  Each and every time we make a judgment it is going to have a consequence.  Sometimes the consequence will be a powerful source that brings about goodness and justice and truth, other times, however, our words can sow the seeds of division and hatred and resentment.  We know that we are not always going to agree with our brothers and sisters.  But alas, we are called to love them with a heart that bleeds with charity.  When we allow this to happen, the guiding light that we hear about in the First Reading from the Prophet Isaiah and the Responsorial Psalm we sing this 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (The Lord is my light and my salvation) will guide us to inner peace where we live in peace and harmony with our neighbor and are more easily able to put aside past hurts and resentments.


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