Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Word of God Sunday
Fr. Paul Patrick, O.M.I.
Posted: January 24, 2020
“After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.” (Mark 1:14-15)
In our reading for this Sunday from the Gospel according to St. Mark, the author uses an interesting term multiple times: Good News. What does this term mean and why is it used?
A few weeks ago we celebrated Christmas and most likely either heard or read the well known proclamation from the angels to the shepherds regarding the birth of Christ. “And the angel said to them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:10) In the original Greek text, the word used in both the Gospel according to Mark and the Christmas story from Luke is the same Greek word euangelion.
The word Gospel comes from the early Anglo Saxon words good spiel or literally good news or glad tidings which in turn is the Anglicized translation of the Greek euangelion. This word originally meant ‘the reward given to the one who brought good news’ as in a messenger in ancient times who brought good news to people who were waiting to hear the news of some major event in their country, such as a battle. Therein is contained a sense of joy, of relief, of happiness, to hear the wonderful news – the euangelion that the battle was over and peace would return. This phrase was later adopted by Greek speaking Christians to describe the greatest news they had ever and would ever receive, the good news that Jesus loved them and came to change their lives forever.
2.0 – Why Good Tidings of Great Joy?
Oftentimes as Christians we use ‘religious words’ which have to a certain extent lost the original weight of their meaning in the context of the 21st century. I believe that the words Gospel and Good News or Glad Tidings could sometimes fall into that category. It is important to reflect from time to time on their original meaning because it sheds a different light on the Gospels and allows me to read and meditate on the Gospel with perhaps a different perspective and viewpoint than before. The Gospels are a joyfull story of salvation which is a testament of God’s enduring love to His people.
During the course of my studies I had the privilege to study with a brilliant Scripture professor who told our class repeatedly: “The only way to truly understand the Gospels is with joy in your heart”.
3.0 – Word of God Sunday
On September 30 2019 Pope Francis declared the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time “Word of God Sunday” In a document entitled “Aperuit illis” – “He opened their minds” – the Pope highlighted the importance the Word of God should have in the life of every modern Christian.
One of the ways God reveals Himself to us – or in other words – one of the many ways we can learn more about God and His plan for my life is by reading and meditating on God’s word.
Something you might want to consider during the lockdown is to read a little scripture every day. It can be as simple as praying a short prayer to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment and then reading the Gospel for the day and reflecting how the Lord is speaking to you through the Gospel reading.
If you find it hard to get started, there is a very good program running at the moment on both Apple and Google podcasts entitled Bible in a Year by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is presented in an approachable and easy to understand format. It is also a wonderful way to introduce a little daily Scripture into your life in a guided format which removes the mystery and anxiety which might prevent you from reading God’s Word on your own.
Have a wonderful Sunday and let us allow God to continue to speak to us through His Word 😊