Weekly Reflections

The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: January 23, 2022

FAMILY HISTORY (Nehemiah 8:2–4a, 5–6, 8–10)

Whenever you open up an old family photo album, you may be struck with the power of ancestry. You realize you come from a people who shared with you their beliefs, their possessions, and their past.

When you look at old photos, you may want to learn more. “Who were these people? Where did they live? How did they live? What part of me have I inherited from them?” If you can converse with older members of your family, you can ask these questions directly. But for others, only the photos exist to tell the tales.

In the Old Testament, Ezra the priest came before the assembly of people and brought out for them an old book that had been lost. It was too early in history, of course, for a photo album. But he now possessed a record of the holy words revealed by God to their ancestors. Now that the book had been discovered, its contents were proclaimed to the people.

They listened attentively. These were the words that shaped the lives of their ancestors. As they heard them, they learned what was important to the people who gave them life.

The Bible has been revered by many of our ancestors. It contains a record of the stories they told and the values they held. When you take that old book off the shelf at your home, the Word of God, you can meet the people who gave you life.

BODY BLOCK (1 Corinthians 12:12–30)

It is hard for some people to get along. We think the worst of strangers in our way. We get tired of people we work with every day. Kids in the family fight with one another. It is hard to get along.

There are many reasons to work at it, though. Fighting creates tensions we do not need. It puts us on edge and violates the interior harmony we seek. Work gets done more smoothly, learning happens more peacefully, love is shared more fully, when people get along.

Paul tells the Corinthians that they should think of themselves as one body, not as different people. Earlier on in this letter, he already complained about the divisions in their church. The one community was splintering as people
took sides under different natural leaders. They intuited that they were one community, but they lived as though they were many who were not getting along.

Paul urged them to think of themselves as one. “The body is not a single part, but many.” The foot and the hand get along. So do the ear and the eye. They do not compete with each other. They do not claim to be the only part in the entire body. “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.”

It is easier to get along when we start from this premise: We are already one.

Reflections: Lectionary Bulletin Inserts: Reflections on the First and Second Readings, Year C© 2019 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. All rights reserved. Written by Paul Turner. Lectionary for Mass © 2001, CCD.