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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]

By: John Bucki, S.J.

Jonah 3:1-5, 10
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

January 18-25: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 22: anniversary of the Supreme Court Roe vs. Wade decision
January 30 í¢â‚¬" February 5: Catholic Schools Week

Daily human events clearly evidence how much forgiveness and reconciliation are undeniably needed for bringing about a real personal and social renewal. This is valid in interpersonal relations but also among communities as well as nations.
John Paul II, Lent 2001

The members of the Church, as members of society, have the same right and duty to promote the common good as do other citizens. Christians ought to fulfill their temporal obligations with fidelity and competence. They should act as a leaven in the world, in their family, professional, social, cultural and political life.
Bishops Synod, Justice in the World, #38

Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And, taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature -- either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Thoughts for Your Consideration
The scriptures today remind us that reform and change are possible.

God sends Jonah into an immense, secular city to proclaim repentance and renewal. Jonah goes with great reluctance and expects no success. However, he is surprised by success. The people of Nineveh change their lives.

After John has been arrested and thrown into prison, Jesus appears proclaiming: "This is the time of fulfillment. The reign of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." Some people are so inspired by this message that they leave everything, and follow Jesus.

We too live in a time where proclaiming reform and change can seem to be futile. We can feel discouraged or overwhelmed by the powers that be í¢â‚¬" by the desire to settle things by war, by political leaders who are not honest, by a political process than is controlled by those with the most money, by political policies that seem biased against the poor, by the values of the consumer culture, by the economic interests that seem to show no respect for the environment, and by many other ideologies and ways of acting. Change seems impossible. Certain secular values seem to have overwhelming power. Yet the scriptures invite us to believe that reform is possible, that change and growth can take place.

The scripture today reminds us that reform and change is possible, not only in our personal life and interpersonal relations, but also in our society and its institutions.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What social and political problems of today seem to you to be impossible to address or solve? How does your faith give you courage to deal with these problems?

Actions - Links

January is "Poverty in America Awareness Month." Go to: Or go to and take the "poverty tour."

Prayer í¢â‚¬" Meditation
Immaculate Heart of Mary, help us to conquer the menace of evil,
which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today,
and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths toward the future.

From famine and war, deliver us.
From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.
From sins against human life from its very beginning, deliver us.
From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.
From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.
From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.
From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us.
From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.
From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us.

Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.
Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit conquer all sin: individual sin and the "sin of the world," sin in all its manifestations.

Let there be revealed once more in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the redemption: the power of merciful love.
May it put a stop to evil.
May it transform consciences.
May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of hope.

Type of content: Lectionary Reflections