3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B) - 21 January

21st January 2024
“I tell you that you have less to suffer in following the Cross than in serving the world and its pleasures.” - St John Vianney
A reflection on today's Gospel by the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J Sheen:
"Our Lord’s great command was: 'Follow Me!' By calling others to Himself, He introduced the idea that man should have charge over man. It was a prolongation of the principle of His Incarnation: He Who is God would teach and redeem and sanctify through the human nature which He had taken from Mary. But He would work also through other human natures, starting with those first twelve whom He called to be His followers. It was not to be the angels who would administer to men: the government of the Father would be placed in the hands of human beings. Such is the meaning of His apostolic call to the twelve.
"One is struck at once by the gigantic aim He proposed for His followers, namely, the moral conquest of the whole world; they were to be the 'light of the world,' the 'salt of the earth,' and the 'city that cannot be hid.' He bade rather insignificant men to take an almost cosmic view of their mission, for on them would He build His Kingdom. These chosen lights were to cast their rays over the rest of humanity, in all nations.
"In his essay The Twelve Men, dealing with the British jury system, G. K. Chesterton wrote, 'Whenever our civilization wants a library to be catalogued, or a solar system discovered, or any other trifle of this kind, it uses up its specialists. But when it wishes anything done which is really serious, it collects twelve of the ordinary men standing around. The same thing was done, if I remember right, by the Founder of Christianity.'
"It is evident that from the beginning, Our Blessed Lord intended to prolong His teaching, and His reign and His very life 'unto the consummation of the world' but in order to do this He had to call to Himself a body of men to whom He would communicate certain powers that He had brought with Him to earth. This body would not be a social body such as a club, united only for the sake of pleasure and convenience; nor would it be a political body, held together by common material interests; it would be truly spiritual, the cement of which would be charity and love and the possession of His Spirit. If the society or Mystical Body Our Lord wanted to found was to have continuity, it would need a head and members. If it was a vineyard, as He declared in one of His parables, it would need labourers; if it was a net, it would need fishermen; if it was a field, it would need sowers and reapers; if it was a herd, or a flock, it would need shepherds.
"The number twelve is symbolic. The Book of the Apocalypse speaks of the twelve foundations of the Church. There were twelve patriarchs in the Old Testament, and also twelve tribes in Israel; there were twelve spies who explored the promised land; there were twelve stones on the breast of the High Priest; when Judas failed, a twelfth Apostle had to be named. The Apostles are most often referred to in the Gospels as 'the twelve,' that title being attributed to them thirty-two times. In choosing these twelve, it was evident that Our Lord was preparing them for a work after His Ascension; that the Kingdom He came to found was not only invisible but visible; not only Divine but human. But they had so much to learn before they could be the twelve gates of the Kingdom of God." (Life of Christ)
Prayer to Jesus by St John Gabriel Perboyre
O my Divine Saviour, transform me into Yourself.
May my hands be the hands of Jesus.
Grant that every faculty of my body may serve only to glorify You.
Above all, transform my soul and all its powers so that my memory, will and affection may be the memory, will and affections of Jesus.
I pray You to destroy in me all that is not of You.
Grant that I may live but in You, by You and for You, so that I may truly say with St Paul, "I live – now not I – but Christ lives in me". Amen. 🙏💖💐
Food for thought
“No one who follows Me will ever walk in darkness” (John 8:12).
These words of our Lord counsel all to walk in His footsteps. If you want to see clearly and avoid blindness of heart, it is His virtues you must imitate. Make it your aim to meditate on the life of Jesus Christ. Nothing matters except to love God and to serve Him only.
Credit: Art work by Carl Oesterley.