Liturgy of the Sunday

Share On

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Memorial of the death of Gandhi, killed in1948 in New Delhi. With him we remember all those who, in the name of non-violence, are peacemakers.

First Reading

Jeremiah 1,4-5.17-19

The word of Yahweh came to me, saying: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you came to birth I consecrated you; I appointed you as prophet to the nations.' 'As for you, prepare yourself for action. Stand up and tell them all I command you. Have no fear of them and in their presence I will make you fearless. For look, today I have made you into a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of bronze to stand against the whole country: the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests and the people of the country. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you, Yahweh declares, to rescue you.'


Psalm 70


Do not abandon me, Lord, when I am old.

In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.

In your justice rescue me, free me:
pay heed to me and save me.

Be a rock where I can take refuge,
a mighty stronghold to save me;
for you are my rock, my stronghold.

Free me from the hand of the wicked,
from the grip of the unjust, of the oppressor.

It is you, O Lord, who are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, since my youth.

On you I have learned from my birth,
from my mother's womb you have been my help.
My hope has always been in you.

My fate has filled many with awe
but you are my strong refuge.

My lips are filled with your praise,
with your glory all the day long.

Do not reject me now that I am old;
when my strength fails do not forsake me.

For my enemies are speaking about me;
those who watch me take counsel together

saying ; 'God has forsaken him; follow him,
seize him; there is no one to save him'.

O God, do not stay far off :
my God, make haste to help me!

Let them be put to shame and destroyed,
all those who seek my life.

Let them be covered with shame and confusion,
all those who seek to harm me.

But as for me, I will always hope
and praise you more and more.

My lips will tell of your justice
and day by day of your help

I will declare the Lord's mighty deeds
proclaiming your justice, yours alone.

O God, you have taught me from my youth
and I proclaim your wonders still.

Now that I am old and grey-headed,
do not forsake me, God.

Let me tell of your power to all ages,
praise your strength and justice to the skies,

tell of you who have worked such wonders.
O God, who is like you?

You have burdened me with bitter troubles
but you will give me back my life.

You will raise me from the depths of the earth;
you will exalt me and console me again.

So I will give you thanks on the lyre
for your faithful love, my God.

To you will I sing with the harp
to you, the Holy One of Israel.

When I sing to you my lips shall rejoice
and my soul, which you have redeemed.

And all the day long my tongue
shall tell the tale of your justice :

for they are put to shame and disgraced,
all those who seek to harm me.

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 12,31-13,13

Set your mind on the higher gifts. And now I am going to put before you the best way of all. Though I command languages both human and angelic -- if I speak without love, I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. And though I have the power of prophecy, to penetrate all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all the faith necessary to move mountains -- if I am without love, I am nothing. Though I should give away to the poor all that I possess, and even give up my body to be burned -- if I am without love, it will do me no good whatever. Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. Love never comes to an end. But if there are prophecies, they will be done away with; if tongues, they will fall silent; and if knowledge, it will be done away with. For we know only imperfectly, and we prophesy imperfectly; but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will be done away with. When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and see things as a child does, and think like a child; but now that I have become an adult, I have finished with all childish ways. Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles, but then we shall be seeing face to face. Now I can know only imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am myself known. As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 4,21-30

Then he began to speak to them, 'This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening.' And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips. They said, 'This is Joseph's son, surely?' But he replied, 'No doubt you will quote me the saying, "Physician, heal yourself," and tell me, "We have heard all that happened in Capernaum, do the same here in your own country." ' And he went on, 'In truth I tell you, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country. 'There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah's day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a town in Sidonia. And in the prophet Elisha's time there were many suffering from virulent skin-diseases in Israel, but none of these was cured -- only Naaman the Syrian.' When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him off the cliff, but he passed straight through the crowd and walked away.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia


This Sunday's Gospel continues the narration of Jesus' first sermon in Nazareth by reporting the irritated reactions of Jesus' fellow residents. What could be the source of such violent disdain, strong enough to make the people listening to Jesus try to throw him off the mountain? Jesus' fault was this: he had dared to speak with authority proclaimed the fulfilment of Scriptures. In doing so, he was presenting himself as the Messiah, the one who freed the prisoners, healed the sick, and lifted the poor up from their condition. They reject the fact that the one sent by God could be one of them. They need extraordinary signs and wonders and do not listen to him. But this way of being smothers prophecy. It is not an accident that Jesus recalls two episodes of the Bible: the story of Elijah who was only sent to a poor widow, near Sidon and the episode of the prophet Elisha, who was sent to heal a foreigner of leprosy, Naaman the Syrian. He was not particularly faithful; in fact, he was a foreigner with more than a little pride. Both Naaman and the widow welcomed the prophets, and they were helped. Their need for help and healing won out, and they trusted in the words of the prophet. This is exactly the opposite of what the inhabitants of Nazareth did.
Unbelief holds back God's love and takes away the power of God's words, rendering them totally ineffective. In a way, it kills them and throw them away. Every time we do not welcome the Gospel with a sincere and open heart, we act like the Nazarenes, who pushed Jesus out of their city and tried to kill him, so that he would never come back and claim authority over their lives. We throw him away and push him out of our lives, out of the lives of men and women. And we continue that "way of the cross" that began in Nazareth and reached its climax in Jerusalem. We defend ourselves from the Gospel and its witnesses to keep from being disturbed in our tranquillity, just like the inhabitants of Nazareth. We prefer silence, because we don't want our weakness and our sin revealed, not even to ourselves. Unbelief is like a conspiracy of silence: it does not tolerate the Gospel to speak and change our heart. And it is not the conspiracy of those who have never known or listened to the Lord. On the contrary, unbelief is a characteristic of those who know him. It is the sin of believers. It is as if we are afraid of a living God, a God who is near to us and human. This kind of God frightens us because he is near to us. We would prefer a distant Gospel, with nothing to say to us, or a Gospel emptied of its strength and brought to terms with the world's way of thinking, so it would not ask anything of us. And yet the Gospel is contained in just one word: God's love.