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Friday, 21 January 2022 08:21

Celebrating At Home - 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Homecoming (Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21)

Homecomings can turn out to be very mixed events. Initial warmth and welcome can turn, surprisingly quickly, to doubt, antagonism and rejection.

In the Gospels for this Sunday and next, Luke tells the story of Jesus’ visit to his hometown of Nazareth.

Before that story begins, however, the Church has included the very first lines of Luke’s Gospel in today’s reading. Here Luke explains, in classical literary fashion, what the purpose of his writings is: to offer an authentic and ordered account of the Christian movement, designed to give Theophilus firm reassurance about the things he has been taught.

After this introduction the first part of the story of Jesus’ homecoming follows. We will hear the second part in next week’s Gospel.
Following his temptation in the wilderness, Jesus returns to Galilee, the region in which he had grown up. He sets about teaching in the synagogues, winning many admirers.

Eventually, Jesus appears in his hometown of Nazareth and attends synagogue on the Sabbath as he usually did. He does the second reading of the synagogue service - the reading from the Prophets, in this case from the prophet Isaiah.

What Jesus reads out becomes and explanation of his mission and ministry. In the Spirit of the Lord, with which Jesus has been anointed, he will bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, new sight to the blind, freedom to the downtrodden and proclaim a year of the Lord’s favour.

The essential good news that Jesus preaches and enacts is of God’s acceptance and welcome (not judgement) of the people who find themselves bound, trapped and afflicted.

Here Jesus sets the pattern not only for his own life and ministry, but also for those who would wish to follow him. We, too, anointed by the Spirit, are called to be God’s acceptance, welcome and freedom for all who are bound, trapped or afflicted in their lives.

In the broader context of Luke’s Gospel, this message is not to be reduced to metaphor. It is about giving real help for all who are struggling in one way or another with the concrete situations of their lives.

This resource is presented by the Carmelites of Australia & Timor-Leste at a time when many cannot gather together as we usually do to celebrate the Eucharist. We are conscious that Christ is present not only in the Blessed Sacrament but also in the Scriptures and in our hearts. Even when we are on our own we remain part of the Body of Christ.

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

This text is arranged with parts for a leader and for all to pray, but the leader’s parts can be shared among those present.

As you use this prayer know that the Carmelites will be remembering in our prayer all the members of our family at this time.

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