(3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time) Many Israelites of Jesus’ time expected God to send a Messiah who would liberate Israel from the political domination of the Romans.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, we are given the opening lines of Luke’s Gospel (1:1-4, 4:14-21), in which Our Lord read the text of the prophet Isaiah (61:1-2) in the synagogue. After reading it, he told the people that the coming of the Messiah, as prophesied by the prophet Isaiah, was being fulfilled in his own person and in His preaching. He came to liberate them from sin, rather than from political subjugation. That is the Good News, for with sin comes death.
Sin comes both in personal form, and in institutional form. As a nation we have introduced laws and legislation that takes away the nature of the family*. In many areas the ‘horse has bolted’, but there are still many other issues in which we need to make a stand, for example, the legalisation of Euthanasia and assisted suicide. Strangely enough, in the front page of the Christchurch Press on the 19th January, it would appeared that many NZers are abhorred that there are so many suicides and attempts at suicides in our community, yet at the same time, there are those who want to legalise Euthanasia and assisted suicide. As they say: “Go figure”.
The dismantling of healthy family life and the embracing of the culture of death are structures of sin that dominates our lives and our communities. We, as members of the Church founded by Christ, are called to proclaim, certainly in words, but more so in deed, the Good News of Christ. If we as a Church, as members of the Body of Christ, do not lead and act on social issues and injustices, then all the Church’s preaching will have little effect. Pope Paul VI, said: “[Jesus]’ way is not, as you know, a movement of the political or temporal order; it calls rather for the conversion of hearts, for liberation from all temporal encumbrances. It is a call to love”. The question is, have we acted upon or make a stand against any of these issues? (see page 3)
As we gather at the Eucharist, we are reminded again of our duty.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the nature of the family in these words:
2201. The conjugal community is established upon the consent of the spouses. Marriage and the family are ordered to the good of the spouses and to the procreation and education of children. The love of the spouses and the begetting of children create among members of the same family personal relationships and primordial responsibilities.
2202. A man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family. This institution is prior to any recognition by public authority, which has an obligation to recognize it. It should be considered the normal reference point by which the different forms of family relationship are to be evaluated.
2203. In creating man and woman, God instituted the human family and endowed it with its fundamental constitution. Its members are persons equal in dignity. For the common good of its members and of society, the family necessarily has manifold responsibilities, rights, and duties.