A Time to Plant and Sow with the Word

Reflection for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time by Patrick Carolan, Executive Director
This reflection was originally posted in our January 18th newsletter

This week, we continue our journey through the third week in Ordinary time. We often think of Ordinary Time as the period where not much happens. It is the time between Christmas and Lent and then again between Pentecost and Advent. According to the Universal Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, Ordinary Time is the period where: “no particular aspect of the mystery of Christ is celebrated, but rather the mystery of Christ itself is honored in its fullness,” This time in our Liturgical year is not a mundane “same old, same old” period where we are just waiting for the next big event. Rather, it is a time to celebrate all aspects of the mystery of Christ. It is in this period that we plant and sow the seeds so when the season of harvest comes again, we are blessed.

I often hear the expression “the mysteries of the Word” There is nothing mysterious about the readings for this Sunday. First, the Psalmist tells us: “Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.” During this time to plant and sow, a question we should all be asking ourselves is: “are we actually living the word or are we just mouthing the words?” Do we truly believe the Words are “spirit and life” or do we simply say the words on Sunday and then on Monday, forget to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger?

We can often hear the expression we are the ‘body of Christ.’ This comes from our second reading. “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.” Are we really all the “Body of Christ?” When we hear hateful statements about Muslims coming out of politicians like Donald Trump and we remain silent, are we living the Word? What about when a family member or a member of our church support those statements and we remain silent, are we acting as part of the body of Christ?

In 1 Corinthians, 12:22-26 it says “But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” I believe the big difference between us and saints like St Francis or Mother Theresa is not that they are holier and they prayed more than the rest of us. I think they, as it says in the reading, suffered when any part of the Body of Christ suffered. They didn’t just hear the cry of the poor, the cry of the Earth, they felt the pain and suffering in every part of their being. We all catch a small glimpse of that experience when someone very close to us suffers. If we are truly the “Body of Christ” we would experience the suffering of all creation as Jesus did. Then we could not be silent, we could not sit still. We would never imagine causing pain and suffering to other parts of the “Body” just so we can have cheaper and more stuff.

It is often said that one can be transformed through their suffering. St Francis, Mother Theresa and other saints were transformed not just through their own suffering but through the suffering of the entire Body of Christ. Are we ready to be transformed into saints? Do we dare to be part of an emerging spiritual awakening that is the unfolding of the beautiful, awesome creation of God’s kingdom?

Patrick Carolan
FAN Executive Director

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Published in: on January 19, 2016 at 9:12 am  Leave a Comment  

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