HOME Homily Archives - Year C Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Homily. Readings: Nehemiah 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1Corinthians 12:12-31; Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21.


Green Stole and Gospel
: Nehemiah 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1Corinthians 12:12-31; Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Today´s Readings present the Holy Spirit as the real protagonist in the life of Jesus and in the Church. Marked by the Spirit, Christ emerges from the waters of the Jordan to begin a new phase of his mission as redeemer. The public ministry which he inaugurates at Nazareth, so radically different from the obscurity of his hidden life, is driven by the power of the Spirit. Through the Spirit he fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah, bringing glad tidings and proclaiming liberty to captives (Gospel).

This same Spirit that is given in baptism also serves as the protagonist of the Church´s unity. For in the Spirit the widely diverse parts of humanity are fashioned into a single unity that forms the very body of Christ (Second Reading).

And in the Spirit we are able to understand the Word of God, so that our souls are refreshed and our eyes enlightened (First Reading and Psalm).

Our profession of faith in God acknowledges the reality of the Holy Spirit: the Spirit is truly God, consubstantial with the Father and the Son. To believe in God is to believe in the Father, his Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Wherever the Son is present and active, there also is the Spirit, for when the Father sends his Word (Christ), he always sends his Breath (Spirit). Whereas Christ is the visible image of the invisible Father, it is the Spirit who reveals him as such.

Every aspect of Jesus´ life and mission as Savior, even from the very moment of the Incarnation, derives from the fullness of his anointing in the Holy Spirit. In fact, the word Christ means literally "anointed." This notion of anointing suggests the very intimate relation between the Son and the Spirit: they are inseparable, yet still distinct as Persons.

The Spirit´s action in the life of the Church and of the faithful can be verified by the presence of the "fruits" of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). When these are present, we have the assurance that the Spirit of God is present; when these are lacking, we know the Spirit is lacking.

The Holy Spirit is at work more intensely than ever, if we might speak in human terms, in order to enlighten, support, strengthen and give effectiveness, boldness and courage to everyone who wants to be faithful to Christ. In this sense, these are beautiful times, not necessarily of peace, but of risk and struggle, in which we have ample opportunity to give witness to Christ.

Our times require strength in the practice of our faith. Purely formalistic piety and passive conformity to the crowd no longer work. Our times demand a personalized faith, embraced more out of conviction and conscious choice than out of sentiment, a faith that is lived counter-culturally and individually, a robust and heroic faith. Faith of this type is a torch amid the darkness of the world, the mustard seed that grows slowly and imperceptibly to the benefit of so many people until it becomes the strength and instrument of our victory over the world, a faith that brings joy to our youth and sets our lives on a noble and ambitious course.

Our faith grows when we strive to become more docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, when we find weakness, cowardice, fear, hesitation, insincerities or sin in our lives, almost always these stem from our lack of docility to the Spirit, which is really a lack of Christ. St Paul himself serves as one of the greatest testimonies ever of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. He became an apostle convinced for life of the cause of Christ, a giant of the mission, ready to face persecution from enemies and difficulties of every sort because he was, as it were, recast by the Holy Spirit.

To follow the example of Christ himself or of St Paul with regard to the Holy Spirit, we need to increase our faith in the Spirit. We need to love the Spirit as the "sweet guest of the soul," the guide and craftsman of our growth in holiness. And we do this by becoming more docile and faithful to his divine inspirations. When this happens we are enlightened and strengthened by his grace and able to walk faithfully the path of God´s will. Thus we follow Christ´s example, fully accomplishing our mission for God´s glory and the salvation of souls.