3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): The Word of God
(Adults, you could begin by reading the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
This Sunday is called the Sunday of the Word of God. It is a day when we pay extra-special attention to the Bible. We listen to the Word of God all the time, but this Sunday we listen ever so much more carefully when the Word is read to us. This Sunday, the Word of God begins with someone speaking to us:
I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth
At first, this sounds strange. Who is this person deciding to write for us?
This is St. Luke. He is one of the people who writes about the things that Jesus says and does. He says he wants us to know the truth; he means he wants us to know Jesus.
St. Luke calls us by a strange name: Theophilus. That is not my name, and I do not think it is your name either. St Luke does not know us.
Or does he?
Theophilus is a name that means "Lover of God." It is a name for someone who loves God. Maybe Theophilus is a good name for us! Maybe St. Luke knows us after all.
St. Luke tells us,
Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee...
Jesus is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. We remember the Holy Spirit coming down upon Jesus when he is baptized. The Holy Spirit fills him—no part of Jesus is left empty of the Holy Spirit.
With the Holy Spirit filling him, what does Jesus do?
He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
A synagogue is a holy place for the Jewish people to come together to listen to the Word of God. Where is our holy place where we come together to listen to the Word of God?
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, Jesus went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom.
He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him.
We know the prophet Isaiah! He is one of those people who sat in such stillness and listened so carefully that he heard God speaking to him. We hear the words that Isaiah heard when we listen to the Word of God. Jesus is going to read these words, not from a book, but from a scroll—a long roll. He is going to read the Word of God.
He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
Jesus reads about the Spirit of the Lord. We know this is the Holy Spirit—the one who fills Jesus as he teaches in the synagogue.
Then Jesus began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
This scripture, he says—the Word of God—has been fulfilled. It is full. It is filled up.
What does Jesus mean?
As Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, speaks the Word of God,
as the people listening to him hear the Word of God,
the Word of God fills up.
It becomes so full, it can no longer stay just written on the scroll.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Jesus. He stands there, among the people.
Jesus is the Word of God and he is with the people.
St. Luke writes all of this for us—we, who love God—so that we may know Jesus more and more. He writes it so that we can hear the Word of God and it can fill up among us. He writes it because Jesus, the Word of God, is with us.