Homily for the third Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 1:1-4 & 4:14-21


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.


"Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.


"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. »"




Homily:


"Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed."


Saint Luke begins his Gospel with some words which clearly explain the goal of the whole mission of the Church throughout her pilgrimage on earth until the glorious return of the Lord. Saint Luke indeed presents himself as a believer who didn't see Jesus on earth, as someone who refers solely to what the others, those who preceded him in the pilgrimage of faith, told him about Jesus. Now, this is the constant practice of the Church throughout the centuries: to merely state, but state clearly, to contemporaries the entire inheritance transmitted by those who have preceded us, from the time of the Apostles to the present day. "Many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word."


If Saint Luke contents himself with relating the events that took place during the life of the Lord, it means that the time of Jesus marks for the Church a precise instant beyond which we must not go: the time of Jesus sets the limits of a certain period of time, that of Revelation. When Jesus will have returned to the Heavens, and when the last of the Apostles, the last of those who will have had seen Jesus and who will have had been specially chosen by Him will have died, then Revelation will be closed. The Christians who will come after, those who will found their faith on the faith of the Apostles, will content themselves with accomplishing the sometimes very difficult task of maintaining and of transmitting to others this Revelation, as they will have received it from their predecessors. With the help of the Holy Spirit, who guides them "into all truth" and who tells them "whatever he hears" (Jn. 16:13), Christians thus accomplish, from generation to generation, the fundamental mission of the Church.


"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. »"


Jesus said: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Jesus came to accomplish the Old Covenant: Jesus came to seal the New Covenant between God and men in his Blood, thus bringing the Old Covenant to its fullness. All that had been announced in the Old Covenant was accomplished in the time of Jesus. All is brought to its fullness: Jesus was born and came into the world in the fullness of time (cf. Ga. 4:4) When Jesus died on the Cross, he said: "It is finished," or "It is accomplished." (Jn. 19:30) And Saint Paul, who received his Gospel from God Himself (cf. Ga. 1:11), confirms this definitive completion of divine Revelation when writing to the Galatians: "Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed!" (Ga. 1:8)


Jesus is the fullness of Revelation! In him, all is accomplished! Our entire mission as Church consists of transmitting this Revelation faithfully, while deepening our acquaintance with its contents, in order to not lose any of its essential elements. And actually, in the course of celebrating this Eucharist, we are not going to do anything other than to accomplish what the Lord Himself transmitted to us, as well as to Saint Paul (cf. 1 Co. 11:23) The priest is going to give the believers the Body of Christ: all those who will receive communion in the course of this Eucharistic celebration will receive the Body of the Lord through the mediation of the priest. To transmit to believers the Body of Christ, who is the fullness of Revelation: that is the entire function of the priest in the Church! May Mary help us to celebrate this Eucharist with dignity! May Jesus, through Her, as through the priest, be given to us for eternal life!



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