Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
January 31 A..D. 2010
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15-17
1 Corinthians 12:31—13:13 or 13:4-13
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Many of us "older" folk remember how an important part of our Sundays was gathering around the radio to listen to Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen's weekly broadcasts on The Catholic Hour. Later on, he became the most popular TV personality of the 50s and 60s with his "Life is Worth Living" weekly telecast. With his deep resonant voice and piercing eyes, he mesmerized millions of people, both Catholic and non-Catholic. People crowded into bars and public places, as well as in their own living rooms, to listen to his warnings about godless communism in Europe and the dangers of its infiltrating all parts of America.
[Later, as Archbishop Sheen, he headed the Office for the Propagation of the Faith, raising millions of dollars for missions throughout the world. Only Billy Graham could match this fearless modern-day prophet. As such, he was vilified, envied, and persecuted. This came from outside the Church, but also from within.]
Today's first reading is about God's choice of Jeremiah, one of the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you." (Jeremiah 1:5) Jeremiah, knowing how badly people treated prophets, protested, but to no avail. God told him to stand up and be a man, promising that "I am with you to deliver you." After he spent his life battling false religions and the cowardly fear of weak political leaders, Jeremiah was finally stoned to death in Egypt!
Jeremiah is often compared to Jesus, since both were consumed with love for the Father, zeal for the truth, and both suffered death because of that truth. The Gospel today demonstrates how Jesus, from the very beginning of His ministry in His hometown of Nazareth, suffered rejection from the very villagers He had grown up with! Here, it all boiled down to envious remarks like, "Who does he think he is?" "We know his family and his relatives!" "Where does he get all of this?" As Jesus' fame grew, so too did the opposition from religious leaders who feared for their standing among the people. The words of the prophets will always anger and upset those who will not face their own sinfulness.
The power that drove both Jeremiah and Jesus to persevere to the end was their fire of love for the Father and for His Glory. Today's second reading describes that love. It is the classic text from St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians: "Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous. . . ." At our baptism, the priest anointed us with Holy Chrism to be "prophet, priest, and king." We, too, need a burning love for the Truth, for our ministry as prophets. Are we willing to pay just a portion of the price that it takes to love as Jeremiah and Jesus did?
~ Msgr. Paul Whitmore | email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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