February 3, 2013 – Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jer 1: 4-5, 17-19; Ps 71: 1-6, 15-17; 1 Cor 12:31-13:13; Lk 4:21-30
The readings for this Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time are so rich in content and include some of the most quoted passages, sentences, and phrases in all of scripture.
Jeremiah means “Yahweh” — God. The particular passage, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jer 1:4), reminds us that God has a plan for each of us, and He has known it from before we were conceived. Our challenge as stewards is to discern that plan as best we can, and to follow it.
Of, course, the second reading from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is also very familiar. It is a definition of what good and holy love is in its purest form. “So faith, hope, and love remain, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:13)
Luke’s Gospel recounts Jesus speaking in the temple in Nazareth. As is the case with the other two readings, one of the most quoted sentences in scripture is part of this passage: “No prophet is accepted in his own native place.” The key is how Jesus responds to the rejection by his friends and neighbors. He calmly loves them and moves through them to depart.
The three readings tie closely together — in the first reading we are urged to identify our own role as Christian stewards; the second reading makes it clear that love of those around us is the way to live out that mission; and the Gospel reminds us that there will be obstacles, but our proper response is love.