Skip to content

SUNDAY HOMILY: The Happy Priest - Practical Lessons from Nazareth

By Fr. James Farfaglia
1/27/2013 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It is the mission of the Church to carry on this work of the Savior.  Essentially, the mission of the Catholic Church is about eternal salvation.

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - The Liturgical season of Ordinary Time is dedicated to a deep contemplation of the public ministry of the Lord.  Last Sunday we considered his first miracle which took place at the wedding of Cana.  This Sunday, we contemplate his first public teaching which took place at Nazareth.

During the time of Jesus, Nazareth was a small city of a population around 2,000 people.  As a faithful Jew, Jesus would go to the synagogue on the Sabbath. 

The synagogue service contained five parts.  First, the "Shemá" was proclaimed: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord" (Deuteronomy 6: 4-9; Numbers 15: 37-41). 

Secondly, The Prayer took place, which was comprised of eighteen blessings and petitions.

Thirdly, there was a reading from the Torah or the Law.  Then a reading took place from the Prophets, and finally, an explanation of the Scripture was a part of the synagogal liturgy which was concluded with the antiphonal chanting of a psalm. 

Any of the men who were attending the service could be invited to read and give the explanation, and here is exactly where Jesus finds himself in this Sunday's Gospel passage.

 "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord".

And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  And he began to say to them, 'Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing'.  And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth..." (Luke 4: 16-22). 

What are the practical applications of this Sunday's gospel narrative?

First, the poor mentioned in the text that Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah does not refer to a social class of people, but rather to an essential posture that all believers need to have in their relationship with God.

Humility and total trust in God are necessary virtues for all those who call themselves believers.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus announces that the poor are blessed and theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Secondly, Jesus, the Messiah, has come to free us from the blindness and domination of sin. "He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed..."  

Once again we are reminded of the importance of the Sacrament of Confession.  When we participate in this awesome sacrament, we are freed from the power and darkness of evil and sin.  To be held captive by sin is a tyranny far worse than any physical tyranny that takes place in societies where totalitarianism exists.  A person can be physically imprisoned, yet still be spiritually free. 

The words of the Prophet Isaiah that Jesus read in the synagogue define the very mission of the Incarnate Word made flesh: to redeem man from sin.   It is the mission of the Church to carry on this work of the Savior.  Essentially, the mission of the Catholic Church is about eternal salvation. 

Thirdly, since Jesus is participating in the Jewish liturgy of the synagogue on the Sabbath, we are reminded that we too are live out the Sabbath with delicate fidelity. 

We need to go to church every Sunday unless we are sick or the weather keeps us inside our homes.  We need to dress appropriately for Mass, because the church is God's house.  We need to worship at Mass with full and conscious participation.  Punctuality is a must. 

The second aspect of our Sabbath is the prohibition from all unnecessary physical work.
"Just as God rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done, human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord's Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.

On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health" (Catechism of the Catholic Church; 2184, 2185).

This means that we are to do housework, yard work and shopping on other days, not on Sunday.  Although it is true that some people will have to work because they are involved with service orientated professions (hospitals and restaurants), employers of these types of professions have a moral obligation to provide their employees time for worship and adequate rest. 

Finally, today's Gospel narrative reminds us that we are to have a deep love for the Word of God.  Jesus reads from the Sacred Scriptures.  The Scriptures are the voice of God speaking to us.  Do you own your own personal Bible?  The Word of God needs to be the very soul of our spiritual life.  Today's responsorial psalm reminds us of the importance of the Sacred Scriptures when we respond, "Your words, Lord are Spirit and Life."

The Word of God can speak to us every day by praying the Liturgy of the Hours, by meditating on the some passage of the Bible and by attending Mass every day. 

Father James Farfaglia is a contributing writer for Catholic Online and author of Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics.  You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org and listen to the audio podcast of this Sunday homily.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for OCTOBER 2017
Workers and the Unemployed.
That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.


Comments


More Year of Faith

Let us Celebrate the Feast of All Saints. Let us Make Haste to our Brethren Watch

Image of

Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We ... continue reading


The Feast of the Sacred Heart and Our Mission Watch

Image of Saint Margaret Mary of Alocoque encountering the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The heart is the center of a person, the place from which he/she makes the choices which will affect the world within them and around them. ... continue reading


The Happy Priest on the Baptism of the Lord and our own Baptism Watch

Image of

The consideration of Jesus' baptism, gives us an opportunity to remember our own baptism.  If you do not know the date of your own ... continue reading


Regret of Judas or Repentance of Peter?

Image of

I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. HYTHE, ... continue reading


Pentecost: St Cyril of Jerusalem on The Living Water of the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of

The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.