Sunday Readings/Fr. Taylor’s Reflections

Readings: January 31, 2016, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings from the Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Jeremiah 1:4-5

      Demolish, and Then Start Over

The word of the Lord came to me, saying:

“Before I shaped you in the womb,  I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations that’s what I had in mind for you.”

“But you—up on your feet and get dressed for work! Stand up and say your piece. Say exactly what I tell you to say. Don’t pull your punches or I’ll pull you out of the lineup.

“Stand at attention while I prepare you for your work. I’m making you as impregnable as a castle, immovable as a steel post, solid as a concrete block wall.

You’re a one-man defense system against this culture, against Judah’s kings and princes, against the priests and local leaders. They’ll fight you, but they won’t even scratch you. I’ll back you up every inch of the way, says the Lord.”

  •   1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:13

Some of you keep competing for so-called “important”  spiritual gifts. But now I want to lay out a far better way for you.

      The Way of Love

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first”, doesn’t fly off the handle,, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back but keeps going to the end. Love never dies.

Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

  •  Luke 4:21-30

Jesus began speaking in the Synagogue. And he concluded: “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”

All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son, the one we’ve known since he was a youngster?”

He answered, “I suppose you’re going to quote the proverb, ‘Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.’ Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown. Isn’t it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon? And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian.”

That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, but he gave them the slip and was on his way.

 

Readings: January 24, 2016, 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings from the Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10

So Ezra the priest brought The Revelation to the congregation, which was made up of both men and women—everyone capable of understanding. It was the first day of the seventh month. He read it facing the town square at the Water Gate from early dawn until noon in the hearing of the men and women, all who could understand it. And all the people listened—they were all ears—to the Book of The Revelation.

The scholar Ezra stood on a wooden platform constructed for the occasion. Ezra opened the book. Every eye was on him (he was standing on the raised platform) and as he opened the book everyone stood. Then Ezra praised God, the great God, and all the people responded, “Oh Yes! Yes!” with hands raised high. And then they fell to their knees in worship of God, their faces to the ground. Ezra translated the Book of The Revelation of God so the people could understand it and then explained the reading.

Nehemiah the governor, along with Ezra the priest and scholar and the Levites who were teaching the people, said to all the people, “This day is holy to God, your God. Don’t weep and carry on.” They said this because all the people were weeping as they heard the words of The Revelation.

He continued, “Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don’t have anything: This day is holy to God. Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!”

  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Brothers and sisters:

You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.

I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together.

You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.

  • Luke 1:1-4

So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the

reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught.

To Set the Burdened Free

Jesus returned to Galilee powerful in the Spirit. News that he was back spread through the countryside. He taught in their meeting places to everyone’s acclaim and pleasure.

He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,

God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,

Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind,

To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”

 

Readings: January 17, 2015, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings from the Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Isaiah 62:1-5

Look, Your Savior Comes!

Regarding Zion, I can’t keep my mouth shut, regarding Jerusalem, I can’t hold my tongue,

Until her righteousness blazes down like the sun, and her salvation flames up like a torch.

Foreign countries will see your righteousness, and world leaders your glory.

You’ll get a brand-new name straight from the mouth of God.

You’ll be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand, a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God.

No more will anyone call you Rejected, and your country will no more be called Ruined.

You’ll be called Hephzibah (My Delight), and your land Beulah (Married),

Because God delights in you and your land will be like a wedding celebration.

For as a young man marries his virgin bride, so your builder marries you,

And as a bridegroom is happy in his bride, so your God is happy with you.

  • 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all

originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is:

Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful: wise counsel, clear understanding, simple trust, healing the sick, miraculous acts, proclamation, distinguishing between spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues.

All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.

  • John 2:1-11

From Water to Wine

Three days later there was a wedding in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. Jesus and his disciples were guests also. When they started running low on wine at the wedding banquet, Jesus’ mother told him, “They’re just about out of wine.”

Jesus said, “Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine? This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.”

She went ahead anyway, telling the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.”

Six stoneware water pots were there, used by the Jews for ritual washings. Each held twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus ordered the servants, “Fill the pots with water.” And they filled them to the brim.

“Now fill your pitchers and take them to the host,” Jesus said, and they did.

When the host tasted the water that had become wine (he didn’t know what had just happened but the servants, of course, knew), he called out to the bridegroom, “Everybody I know begins with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill brings in the cheap stuff. But you’ve saved the best till now!”

This act in Cana of Galilee was the first sign Jesus gave, the first glimpse of his glory. And his disciples believed in him.