8th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 3rd March 2019

Theme: A MAN’S WORDS FLOW OUT OF WHAT FILLS HIS HEART

  • Ecclesiasticus 27: 4-7
  • Luke 6:39 – 45 

Dear Friends,

Today is the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us that a man’s words flow out of what fills his heart!

The First Reading today tells us that “the defects of a man appear in his talk. ….the test of a man is in his conversation. …. A man’s words betray what he feels. …. Do not praise a man before he has spoken, since this is the test of men.”

More importantly, the Gospel today tells us that “There is no sound tree that produces rotten fruit, nor again a rotten tree that produces sound fruit. …. A good man draws what is good from the store of goodness in his heart; a bad man draws what is bad from the store of badness. For a man’s words flow out of what fills his heart.”

Most importantly, the Gospel Acclamations today tell us to open our hearts to accept the words of God’s Son and to offer the world the word of life!

Thus we read in the Gospel Acclamations: “Open our hearts, O Lord, to accept the words of your Son.” (Acts 16:14) “You will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life.” (Phil 2:15-16)

In this Extraordinary Missionary Year for Malaysia, the Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia exhorts us to “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15). But before we proclaim the Good News, the Bishops of Malaysia exhorts us “First, to have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ living in His Church through the Eucharist, in the Word of God and in our personal and communitarian prayer.” (Herald, 13.1.2019)

We Catholics tend to value the Eucharist more than the Word of God, but both are important! The Sunday Mass consists of two essential parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist! The Word gives us faith and when we celebrate the Eucharist with faith, the Holy Spirit will come and build the Community, the Church and the Kingdom of God! The Liturgy of the Word consists of the Readings, the Homily and the Prayer of the Faithful. The Prayer of the faithful is a response to the Word of God, asking God to help us act on His Word and to proclaim His Word to all creation!

In the Neo-Catechumenal Communities in Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Lahad Datu, etc., Sabah, Malaysia, they not only celebrate the Eucharist once in two weeks on Saturdays and have their convivence (retreat) once a month, but they also celebrate the Word of God every week on Tuesdays or Wednesdays! In the celebration of the Word, they listen to four readings, two from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament! They also respond to God’s Word in prayer, asking God to help them keep the Word of God and to proclaim it to the nations! After that, especially during the Easter season, they are sent out two by two to announce the Good News in their own parishes, in other parishes in their own diocese, in other dioceses and in the world! May the Good Lord bless you with a fruitful Extraordinary Missionary Year 2019! Amen!

Fr. Nicholas Ong, Holy Trinity Church, Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia.