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Sunday, January 25, 1998

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3rd Sunday Ordinary Time

Nehemiah 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 12:12-30
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

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the bible challenge

"He came to Nazareth where He had been reared, and entering the synagogue on the sabbath as He was in the habit of doing, He stood up to do the reading." —Luke 4:16

Jesus began His public ministry reading and proclaiming God's word. Ezra began a renewal of the Israelite nation by reading and teaching God's word from daybreak to midday (Neh 8:3, 8). We too can begin this year with an extensive time in God's word.

Consider committing yourself to read and pray the Bible for an hour a day till the beginning of Lent. If this seems too much, commit yourself to fifteen to thirty minutes of daily Bible reading for the next two weeks.

When we deeply expose ourselves to God's word, we are purified of evil (Eph 5:26) and trimmed of that which limits our growth in the Lord (Jn 15:2-3). By receiving God's word, we hear the Lord better and grow in faith (Rm 10:17). God's word will help us know ourselves better by judging the thoughts and reflections of our hearts (Heb 4:12). By God's word, we are fed spiritually (Mt 4:4), made joyful, and strengthened (Neh 8:10). God's word will make us "fully competent and equipped for every good work" (2 Tm 3:17).

These are only a few effects of God's word. His word is so living, effective (Heb 4:12), powerful, and rich that this may well be the best year of our lives if we begin it with a deep experience of the word.

Prayer:  Father, may I be as eager for Your word as a newborn baby for milk (1 Pt 2:2).

Promise:  "If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy." —1 Cor 12:26

Praise:  Praise You, risen Lord Jesus! You died to sin and rose that we may live with You forever. Alleluia!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, June 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 9, 1997