BY: Fr Andrew Ekpenyong


1. Joke. A football player went to his doctor and told him he had broken his arm in 3 different places and asked the doctor what to do. The doctor replied with a smile, “Don’t go again to those places!”. Of course, the player got MRI and CT scans for fractures and the jovial doctor had brightened the procedure by starting with a joke on the contextual meaning of human words. Yes, today is the Sunday of the Word of God. But the Word of God is God’s will expressed in human words, human language, subject to the limitations of human language. No wonder the Word of God became flesh in Jesus Christ, continues to dwell among us in the Spirit of Christ, unites us as members of the Church, the Body of Christ, so that we can be guided in doing God’s will according to the God’s revelation in Sacred Scripture. The Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelization has issued details for this year’s celebration based on the theme: “We proclaim to you what we have seen” (1 Jn 1:3).


2. Despite Dangers and Divisions. The Word of God is about events, God’s saving actions in the world. Sisters and brothers, we are filled with joy because we are beneficiaries of God’s saving actions. Yes, in us, today’s 1st reading (Is 8:23—9:3) is fulfilled: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”. Yes, God’s self-revelation has brought us abundant joy. And what a privilege that God is also using us, empowering us to spread this joy of salvation by making us witnesses to the rest of mankind. The Bible is God’s love letter to mankind, and we are the postal service, the town hall announcers, the newscasters, the tele-messengers, the e-evangelizers, the internet bloggers, and vloggers to deliver it. The Christian Bible, despite being the bestselling book of all time, according to the Guinness World Records, despite the 5 to 7 billion copies of the Christian Bible printed and distributed since the invention of modern printing, there is a yawning gap between hearing the Word of God and doing the Will of God. Even the devil knows Scripture, cites it and twists its meaning in order to deceive as he did to Christ: Mt 4:6, where the devil cites Psalm Ps 91:11–12. And our Lord countered the devil also citing Scripture but with its true interpretation: ‘Again it is written, “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”’ Mt 4:7; citing Dt 6:16. Despite the danger of misinterpretation, we have the Word of God. Despite the danger of creatures rebelling against Him, God still created intelligent beings. Despite the danger of disunity and fragmentation, Christ established His Church on earth. Today’s 2nd reading (1 Cor 1:10-13, 17) alludes to such disunity: “For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters…. that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?” Dear Sister and brothers, clearly, Christian unity was from the beginning, a work in progress. And continues to be so. In the Gospel reading (Mt 4:12-23), despite danger from people opposed to the truth, such as Herod Antipas who arrested John the Baptist, our Lord proclaimed the good news of God’s intervention to save mankind: “When Jesus heard that John had been arrested…. Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

3. Love and Truth. Sisters and brothers, just like our Lord, just like St Paul, despite dangers, despite divisions, despite economic and climatic uncertainties, despite violence, insecurity, and many other challenges around us and around the world, you and I are here to do the will of God, to worship God in spirit and in truth. Thank you. Despite dangers and divisions, Karissa Patera, one of my physics students this semester, along with 50 of the 144 other Creighton University Students for Life members, led by Dr Edward DeSimone and Fr Peter Nguyen, SJ, joined 100,000 other prolifers in Washington DC this weekend for the 50th National March for Life, to proclaim the sacredness of human life from conception to a natural death. Yes, despite any danger or division, we are all called to join in various works of charity to spread joy, the joy of God’s kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace. The least we can do to better equip ourselves for this sacred task is to read, listen to, meditate on, pray over and act on the Word of God in Scripture, more than ever before. Being so equipped we can ever truly say as we did in today’s Psalm: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?”


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