Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time — January 30, 2011
Zephaniah 2.3; 3.12-13 | Psalm 146 | 1 Corinthians 1.26-31 | Matthew 5.1-12

John Connelly


January 24, 2011

I was once doing a conference with a well-known bishop. He challenged the people present and asked how many remembered the Mass readings from the past Sunday. A few raised their hands. He then asked how many would remember the readings if their life depended on it. Everybody raised their hands.

He then paused a moment and said dramatically. . . "Your life does depend on it."

That is worth thinking over. Our life depends on applying the Scriptures.

Take a close look at this Sunday's readings. Listen because every Sunday God has something to say to you and me. But so often we are distracted. We hear with our ears but not with our hearts.


A disciple of Jesus is a person who applies Jesus' teaching in daily life. His teachings on love, prayer, relationships and the meaning of life. His teachings which reveal a living kingdom which exists in our midst here and now.

What if we all meditated deeply and diligently on the teachings of Jesus and the Bible? What if in every parish community we sought prayerfully and diligently to apply the Sunday readings to our daily life? What if discussing together the Scriptures became a part of our weekly culture? I think a humble revolution would begin to happen in our lives.

I think we would all see that much of what this society values is not the real priority of our existence. I think we would begin to see everything with new eyes.

Every day we are influenced by a particular world view. This world view is promoted diligently by the culture we have created and the media which pervades our lives. It affects us all, both consciously and unconsciously.

God is calling each of us to see beyond the limits of this culture and see all we encounter today through his eyes.

Read this Sunday's readings. Take a line or two or meditate deeply on the words of life. Think them over day after day. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom. Wisdom is simply the ability to see with the eyes of Jesus. It is seeing beyond the surface and seeing into the heart of the matter.


When we read the lives of the saints we see living icons of the Word of God. They are men and women who took Scripture seriously because they believed they could experience God's will by putting the truth into practice. In short, they knew that their spiritual life depended on applying the teachings of Christ to their daily lives.

One prayer I often pray when confronted with the Scriptures is: "Let it be done in me according to your word." These beautiful words of Mary point me in the right direction when meditating or hearing the Sunday readings.

Like Mary, we need to surrender our entire being to God with humility. We need to let the living word penetrate into the innermost depths of our hearts and minds.

God is willing to do this if we, like Mary, will let go to his loving plan on a daily basis.

So today, begin afresh the habit of applying the Sunday readings to your life.

That is the vision of this column.

As my friend the bishop once said, your life depends on it.

Lord, teach us to root our spiritual life in your word. Let it be done in us according to your word now and always. Amen.