Resources - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year B: Mark
1:21-28 - A new kind of teaching, with authority - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
the Scriptures we frequently hear mention of the city of Capernaum, it was on
the north west shore of the sea of Galilee and was the centre of Jesus' activities
in Galilee. It is in the synagogue that Mark describes the first public act of
Jesus and we hear that Jesus is powerful in both word and deed.
the Sabbath the service in the Synagogue would feature prayers, Scripture readings
and teachings in fact our Liturgy of the Word follows a similar pattern. Anyone
with sufficient learning would be invited to teach as there was no need for Rabbinic
"ordination" in the time of Jesus.
based their teaching on the Scriptures but we hear that the teaching of Jesus
was 'new', so Jesus' style would have been more direct and confident of his own
authority because when Jesus spoke about God he was speaking about a God he called
While Jesus did heal the man passed by a demon,
he shows that he is not merely a wonder worker because of the authority of his
teaching. The demon objects to Jesus' meddling in the domain of evil. The coming
of God's kingdom would spell the end of the demon's power and the demon recognises
Jesus' identity and his significance for the coming kingdom.
fact that Jesus cures the possessed man by word alone indicates the power of God's
incarnate Word, Jesus. You and I are exposed to the power of God's word every
time we read or listen to the Scriptures. We can thank the teachings of the Second
Vatican Council for the greater significance Catholics now place on the Scriptures.
To be denied God's Word would make us a "people who live in darkness".
we live in the darkness of secularism we can be possessed by various demons -
uncontrollable urges to participate in addictions or activities that shrink the
life out of us and can turn us into bitter, angry, frightened and anxious people.
Addictions to drugs, to alcohol, to power, to materialism, to consumerism, to
gossip, to vindictive behaviour, all deny us the openness needed to be Christ's
It is worth considering what it is that we
need to be liberated from and ask God to free us, so that when we interact with
people they encounter a person of peace, a person of love, a person of hope, a
person who makes them wonder what it is that makes us different. The answer would
be found in the liberation that God gives us when we open ourselves to God's incredible
A: Matthew 5:1-12 - The Beatitudes - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
number of books written on this passage would fill a library. There is something
attractive and compelling that has driven numerous authors to seek further understanding
of this most famous sermon. In one way, you can be relieved that I have a word
limit because it would be easy to write at length on the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew places this sermon on a mountain because it is the biblical place of revelation,
in Luke, this passage is on flat ground.
beatitude is an exclamation of congratulations that recognises an existing state
of happiness, so Matthew begins this teaching with a cry of joy on the nearness
of the Kingdom of heaven. This is a challenging sermon because it asks us to make
significant sacrifices, sacrifices that seem to put us at a disadvantage by the
standards of this world. The beatitudes about the poor, the mourners and the hungry
express Jesus' mission to the needy in Israel and the dawn of a new era in salvation
history. In a way, all three beatitudes refer to the same people and it is worth
remembering that we hear about the poor across the whole of the Christian Scriptures.
The poor are happy, not because they are morally better off than others but because
of God's special care for them.
"poor in spirit" has been added by Matthew from the common source "Q"
which provides many of the sayings of Jesus. Their economic poverty remains real
but Matthew has added a spiritual dimension. By doing this Matthew includes a
personal moral aspect which often leads to detachment from wealth, in a way it
is a form of voluntary poverty. Wealth is not an evil in itself, indeed it is
a necessity and something that can make an enormous difference to many struggling
countries. But we risk becoming too attached to our wealth and so it risks neglect
of God and of the poor because we become too comfortable.
'meek' means 'slow to anger; gentle with others' and is indicating a form of charity.
'Mourners' morn to see evil reign on earth. 'Merciful' is in pardoning one's neighbour,
something we pray daily "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those
To love, especially the needy and even one's enemies so that all vengeance is
excluded. "Pure of heart" stands close to justice and includes covenant
fidelity, loyalty to God's commands, sincere worship. "Peacemakers"
in Matthew is closely related to love of neighbour and so the beatitude is of
the merciful. The last long one is about the martyrdom experienced by the early
church. So, how do we measure up to this list of desirable virtues or qualities?
This is something to contemplate as we approach Lent and is a useful tool for
preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The Beatitudes - YOUTH
If you really
really think someone is cool or great or your idol you want to be as much like
them as you can. The "beatitudes" or list of blessings tells us exactly
how Jesus lived and how we need to live. They're not easy. * Pick one that is
easy for you * Pick one that is hardest * Who do you know that is an example of
each Beatitude? * Where do different groups of people fit in: refugees, street
kids, the people affected by the Tsunami, religious sisters, your next door neighbour,
political prisoners, Indigenous people, your teachers at school? * And which beatitude
are you going to work on?
are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who mourn,
they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall have mercy
shown to them.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they shall see God.
are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
they who are persecuted for justice' sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Year C: Luke
4:21-30 - Jesus is rejected by his own people - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel continues on from the Gospel read last Sunday where we heard Jesus read
from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Today we hear of the approval of all present
and then how quickly that approval turned into rejection. Luke uses the theological
principle of 'promise and fulfilment.' This is God's promise (Lk F:18-19) and
Jesus is here to fulfil that promise. This passage is about the restoration of
God's reign and how the structures of social and economic life must reflect God's
reign. The townspeople were amazed that one they had known all along was the messenger
of such news. It seems that the shift to the rejection of Jesus came when Jesus
did not produce powerful deeds for them.
fact Jesus was drawing their attention to the fact that the social and economic
structures of their time and community, did not reflect God's vision for God's
people. As God's people, we too have the responsibility to look at the social
and economic structures of our time and work to ensure they reflect God's desire
for humanity. There are many Church structures in our Archdiocese that work for
social justice, we too can look at these structures in our local community. You
and I have been anointed at Baptism and Confirmation "to bring the good news
to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set
the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord's year of favour." So our questions
include:- Who is poor in our community? And don't just think of economics. Am
I an experience of good news to those around em? Who is captive? Is my phone call,
visit or different perspective an experience of freedom? Do I respond to the blindness
of racism and sexism? Do I reject Jesus from my comfort zone?
Ministry Resources 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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