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Sunday, January 25, 2009

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3rd Sunday Ordinary Time

Jonah 3:1-5, 10
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Psalm 25
Mark 1:14-20

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there's something about god's word

"Jonah began...announcing, 'Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,' when the people of Nineveh believed God." —Jonah 3:4-5

At Mass this morning, the gentleman seated directly in front of me paid no attention whatsoever to the homily. He was fidgeting in his seat, looking to the right and left as the pastor told several anecdotes related to today's readings. Halfway through the homily, the pastor quoted from memory Jesus' words in Matthew 25:35-45. At the very instant the pastor quoted the first word of the Scripture passage, this man's head literally whipped around ninety degrees, and he stared intently at the priest. He listened in rapt attention, riveted and motionless for the remainder of the homily. The change was striking to observe. There's something different about the word of God.

Our words can be helpful to others, but it's God's word that has the power to reach hearts. Jonah announced God's word and got immediate results (Jon 3:4ff). Jesus spoke God's "now-word" (see Ez 33:30) and got immediate results; the disciples immediately abandoned their nets and followed Him (Mk 1:17, 20).

God's word is living and effective, and pierces hearts (Heb 4:12). It always does the job (Is 55:10-11). It reverberates inside people's hearts and "produces of itself" results in the lives of men and women (Mk 4:28). Revise your vocabulary. Speak God's word — for a change.

Prayer:  Father, may people always take Your word as it truly is, the word of God rather than the words of men (1 Thes 2:13). May I spend my life spreading Your word.

Promise:  "Come after Me; I will make you fishers of men." —Mk 1:17

Praise:  Praise Jesus, the living Word (Heb 4:12). There is no chaining You, Word of God (2 Tm 2:9). Alleluia!

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 17, 2008

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