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Ordinary Time: January 25th

Third Sunday of Ordinary Time -- (Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle)

MASS READINGS

January 25, 2004 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

All-powerful and ever-living God, direct your love that is, within us, that our efforts in the name of your Son may bring mankind to unity and peace. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Old Calendar: Third Sunday after Epiphany

Today the Church celebrates the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, which falls on January 25, is not celebrated today since Sunday takes priority. Today's readings continue with Our Lord's early public life and are taken from Cycle C.

"Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, 'Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.'"

The first reading is taken from the Book of Nehemiah, 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10. Nehemiah and Ezra lived in the time when the people of Israel had been returned to their land after the years of the Babylonian Captivity and it was a time of rebuilding. The people had lost their connections to their faith. The Torah, also known as The Law, had not been taught to them. Ezra and Nehemiah were given an important mission by the Lord. They were to teach what had been lost, to rebuild the communal structures, to reinspire the people to the high ideals of their ancestral religion--so that once again they could begin to live a healthy social and religious life. — Fr. Jerome Day, OSB

The second reading is from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, 12:12-30 and refers to the Mystical Body of Christ. St. Paul concludes his description of the different parts of the body by applying it to the Church, where variety of functions does not detract from unity. It would be a serious mistake not to recognize in the visible structure of the Church, which is so multifaceted, the fact that the Church founded by Christ is one, visible at the same time as it is spiritual. — The Navarre Bible, Corinthians

The Gospel reading is from St. Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21. Christ's words in v. 21 show us the authenticity with which he preached and explained the Scriptures: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing". Jesus teaches that this prophecy, like the other main prophecies in the Old Testament, refer to him and find their fulfillment in him. Thus, the Old Testament can be rightly understood only in the light of the New — as the risen Christ showed the Apostles when he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, an understanding which the Holy Spirit perfected on the day of Pentecost. — The Navarre Bible, St. Luke