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  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, Jan. 27, 2013

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service


January 27, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C. Readings:

1) Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10

Psalm 19:8-10, 15

2) 1 Corinthians 12:12-30

Gospel: Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

As a regular contributor to the "Word to Life" commentary, I'm occasionally curious about who reads these columns and where they live. When I first started freelancing for the local diocesan newspaper in 1995, that was pretty easy to figure out: readers of the print publication lived in the Fort Worth, Texas area. I encountered many of them at diocesan and parish functions. Then the Internet happened.

With a few mouse clicks the other day, I was astonished to discover that we have readers from New Mexico and Maryland to Ukraine and South Korea.

We have now entered an age of digital communication and social media in which the good news of Jesus Christ can be transmitted by cable and satellite almost instantly to the remotest parts of the globe.

I recently learned of a missionary priest in Togo, West Africa, a modern-day circuit rider who visits rural villages in a pickup truck bearing an inflatable screen, DVD player and digital projector powered by a small portable generator. The entire village turns out to watch French versions of religious films. The visual presentation of the Gospel has been so inspiring that the priest baptized 150 catechumens last Easter alone.

Pope Benedict XVI has called the entire church to observe a Year of Faith, charging Catholics to seek re-conversion to a deeper relationship with Jesus and to boldly share his Gospel.

For some, it means reopening and walking anew through the door of our baptism, in much the same fashion that Nehemiah reintroduced the Torah to his own people returning from Babylonian exile. He was effective with only a scroll, a raised wooden platform and the force of God's Spirit.

In a first-century Galilean synagogue, Jesus unrolled the scroll of the prophet Isaiah to proclaim his fulfillment of God's promises. The tools were primitive by our standards, but the Spirit's power caused extensive and immeasurable effects.

For Christians, evangelization -- the relational, compassionate and truthful sharing of the love of Jesus Christ with those in our sphere of influence -- is not an option. We have communication tools that Nehemiah could never have imagined. But more important, we are given the same Spirit of the living God. What are we waiting for?

QUESTIONS:

What obstacles, real or imagined, prevent you from evangelizing? With whom in your sphere of influence is God asking you to share the good news of the Gospel?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region." -- Luke 4:14

END



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