Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
January 30, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.






Grant us, Lord our God,
that we may honor you with all our mind,
and love everyone in truth of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading  Jer 1:4-5,17-19

The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

But do you gird your loins;
stand up and tell them
all that I command you.
Be not crushed on their account,
as though I would leave you crushed before them;
for it is I this day
who have made you a fortified city,
a pillar of iron, a wall of brass,
against the whole land:
against Judah's kings and princes,
against its priests and people.
They will fight against you but not prevail over you for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm  Ps 71:1-2,3-4,5-6,15-17

R/. I will sing of your salvation.

In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.

Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
 for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.

For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother's womb you are my strength.

My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.

Second Reading  1 Cor 13:4-13

Brothers and sisters:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, it is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.

At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.

Alleluia  Lk 4:18

Gospel Lk 4:21-30

Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying:
"Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, "Isn't this the son of Joseph?"
He said to them, "Surely you will quote me this proverb,
'Physician, cure yourself,' and say,
'Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'"
And he said, "Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.

Reflection Questions

Where are you most challenged in patience and kindness?  Where least?

Where are you most challenged in jealousy, rudeness or in seeking your own interests?  Where least?

Where are you most challenged in being quick-tempered, brooding over injury, rejoicing over wrongdoing?  Where least?

Where are you most challenged in bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things?  Where least?

Catena Nova

Desiring to win over the whole world and bring its inhabitants to God the Father, raising all things to a higher condition and, in a sense, renewing the face of the earth, the Lord of the universe took the form of a servant and brought the good news to the poor. This, he said, was why he had been sent. Now by the poor we may understand those who were then deprived of all spiritual blessings and who lived in the world without hope and without God, as scripture says. He came to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of retribution. They are those among the Gentiles who, enriched by faith in Christ, have gained the divine, the heavenly treasure, which is the saving proclamation of the gospel. Through this they have become sharers in the kingdom of heaven and companions of the saints. They have inherited blessings impossible to express or comprehend, “for eye has not seen,” says scripture, “nor ear heard, nor human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (St Cyril of Alexandria).

We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others (St. Clare of Assisi).

Love is watchful. Sleeping, it does not slumber. Wearied, it is not tired. Pressed, it is not straitened. Alarmed, it is not confused, but like a living flame, a burning torch, it forces its way upward and passes unharmed through every obstacle (Thomas a Kempis).

Love for Christ overflows into love for one's neighbor, love for truth, love for holiness, for the world, for purity, for everything divine, for everything deathless and eternal ... All these forms of love are natural manifestations of love for Christ. Christ is the God-man, and love for Him always means love for God and for humanity. When we love Christ God, we also love all that is divine, immortal and Christ-like in people. We can't truly love people if we do not love them for the sake of these causes. Any other love is pseudo-love, which is easily changed into lovelessness and hatred toward people. True love for others comes from love for God, and love for God grows in accordance with the keeping of His commandments (St. Justin Popovich).


Why should we defend ourselves when we are misunderstood and misjudged? Let us leave that aside. Let us not say anything. It is so sweet to let others judge us in any way they like. O blessed silence, which gives so much peace to the soul! (St. Therese of Lisieux)


Faith and hope are graces of an imperfect state, and they cease with that state; but love is greater, because it is perfection. Faith and hope are graces, as far as we belong to this world,—which is for a time; but love is a grace, because we are creatures of God whether here or elsewhere, and partakers in a redemption which is to last for ever. Faith will not be when there is sight, nor hope when there is enjoyment; but love will (as we believe) increase more and more to all eternity. Faith and hope are means by which we express our love: we believe God's word, because we love it; we hope after heaven, because we love it. We should not have any hope or concern about it, unless we loved it; we should not trust or confide in the God of heaven, unless we loved Him. Faith, then, and hope are but instruments or expressions of love; but as to love itself, we do not love because we believe, for the devils believe, yet do not love; nor do we love because we hope, for hypocrites hope, who do not love. But we love for no cause beyond itself: we love, because it is our nature to love; and it is our nature, because God the Holy Ghost has made it our nature. Love is the immediate fruit and the evidence of regeneration (St. John Henry Newman).

“Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21). The ‘today,’ proclaimed by Christ that day, applies to every age; it echoes for us too, reminding us of the relevance and necessity of the salvation Jesus brought to humanity. God comes to meet the men and women of all times and places, in their real life situations. He also comes to meet us. It is always he who takes the first step: he comes to visit us with his mercy, to lift us up from the dust of our sins; he comes to extend a hand to us in order to enable us to return from the abyss into which our pride made us fall, and he invites us to receive the comforting truth of the Gospel and to walk on the paths of good. He always comes to find us, to look for us (Pope Francis).


Risky Business

            The last thing in the world I ever wanted to do was preach.  Before I was ordained, the one thing I feared the most about being a priest was standing in a pulpit.  But then I joined a religious community whose mission was to preach.  Some years after ordination I went back to school and earned a whole degree in preaching – at a Protestant seminary, no less!  And then I spent seven years on the road preaching parish missions and retreats.   I have even taught courses on preaching.  And believe me, no one is more surprised by all this than I am. Who would have thought?

            Well, God often puts us in situations we’d never choose for ourselves because they might frighten us, or seem like more than we can handle, or the risk is too great. Just look at Jeremiah.  The last thing he wanted to be was a prophet to the nations (I).  He tried to get out of his calling, saying “Ah, LORD GOD!  I know not how to speak; I am too young” (Jer. 1:6).

            And Jeremiah had good reason to fear.  For the Lord told him people would fight against him.  But the Lord persisted in calling, telling Jeremiah to gird his loins and stand up… as though God would leave [Jeremiah] crushed before [his foes].  Not at all!  God promised that his opponents would not prevail over him; the Lord was with Jeremiah to deliver him (cf. I).  And so the prophet took the risk.

            Much like the prophet from Nazareth did, when Jesus’ mission brought him back to his hometown, to face some opposition of his own: When one minute his friends and neighbors all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth, and  the next minute they rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong (G).  All because Jesus took the risk of telling his townspeople some truths they did not want to hear.

            Now these stories remind us how God often leads people out of their “comfort zones” into situations that pose some risk, including the risk of rejection. Which is why Jesus remembered Elijah that day in Nazareth – the prophet who was sent, not to the many widows in Israel,but to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon: in other words, to someplace strange. Just as Elijah’s disciple, Elisha, would go, not to the many lepers in Israel, but to Naaman the Syrian instead (cf. G): Both prophets taking the risk of leaving behind the comfortable and the familiar to enter foreign territory where only God knew what awaited them – even though in their case, it was success.

            So God can call us too in ways that stretch us, sometimes to the breaking point.  And like Jeremiah, we might well try and avoid these opportunities, because we sense the demands -- and the risk-- they entail.  I remember talking to a number of people facing some tough issues and life decisions. One woman was trying to decide whether to pursue a doctoral degree with all the challenges that would pose, financial and otherwise.  A priest was trying to decide if he should stay in a very demanding parish where he met with a lot of rejection, or if it was time to move on.  Someone else was seeking the courage to weather a personal crisis.  Another was dealing with the challenges of caring for an elderly parent, wondering if she could continue.  And a group of college students was pondering their future, with all the uncertainties that accompany such moments in life. And all these people, if you asked them, might tell you they wished for a life with fewer questions and challenges, a life with greater clarity and direction.  Yet, I believe God was at work in all their lives, in the midst of their doubts and anxieties, calling them to growth, despite the risks.

            It all comes down to a question of faith, doesn’t it? Faith in a God whose Providence guides the course of our lives, including those moments that seem dark, and the way forward uncharted.  For as Paul says, we know partially…. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror (II). So the demands of life – especially the ones we resist, or want to run away from – require us to hope with confidence, though we can’t see the outcome, or where we’re heading, or if the risk is worth it.

            But more than faith and hope, these avenues of growth require love: a love that Paul says, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things: a love, in other words, that never fails (II), butperseveres in the face of those difficulties God’s Providence sometimes permits to come our way.  We call these the “theological virtues” – faith, hope, and love – because God is their object: the God in whom Jeremiah, Elijah, Elisha, and Jesus placed their faith and hope, and whom they loved above all things: the God to whom the Psalmist prayed, saying: In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame…. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress… you are my hope, O Lord; my trust, O God, from my youth (RP). The very God in whom we are about to profess our own faith.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.



Intercessions (cf. Msgr. Joseph Masiello)


The Lord, the Most High, is with us to deliver us.  In our need, let us turn to the God of love who knew us and called us before we were born.

That the Church’s proclamation of the gospel may comfort the poor and the humble, even as it challenges the proud and the powerful.

That the Lord our God may raise up prophets in every land, placing on their lips the challenging words of justice and of peace.

That diplomacy may succeed in resolving the crisis between the Ukraine and Russia.

That justice, compassion, and the common good may guide the immigration and all policy conversations of our national leaders.

That married couples may grow together in a selfless love that bears all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

 That the vaccines may more and more diminish the pandemic across the globe.

That our service men and women and all our First Responders and medical personnel may know only safety; and, the seriously ill in our community and among our family members and friends be gifted with love’s comfort and the healing touch of our God.

That Easter’s glorious promise may be the hope of those among us in mourning; and all our beloved dead be welcomed into God’s lovingand eternal embrace of rest and peace.

God of salvation,
in your Prophet, Jesus the Christ,
you announce freedom
and summon us to conversion.
As we marvel at the grace and power of your word,
enlighten us to see the beauty of the gospel
and strengthen us to embrace its demands.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen (ICEL; 1998).

Interlude (J. Michael Thompson)


In ways of selfishness and greed

We often treat with sad disdain

The special gifts that others have;

With jealously we cause much pain.

When Jesus visited his home,

His freeing word was met with strife

By those who sought to cut him down;

With death they countered words of life.

The news of grace that Jesus gives

Calls each to live a life of love

That settles not for boast or scoff

And aims from earth to heav’n above.

Aware that God has formed us all

And from the womb has called our name,

Let us, with love’s ambition filled,

Go forth announcing Jesus’ claim.

(Spiritual Communion)

After the Lord’s Prayer, welcome the Christ anew while becoming aware of those places of resistance to him and the Gospel that may still dwell in your heart.  Renew your allegiance to the way of love and the path God has set before you as a unique calling and manifestation of God’s will for your life.


Closing Hymn (John Michael Talbot)


Love is patient, Love is kind
Love is humble, does not put on airs
Love is never rude
Not prone to anger, does not seek itself

Love is patient, Love is kind
It does not brood over injuries
Does not rejoice in what is wrong
Love rejoices always with the truth

Love never fails
There is no limit to Love
To its power to prevail
To its trust, to its hope
Its power to endure

There are in the end three things that last
There is faith, there is hope and charity
And the greatest of these is Love
So after Love seek eagerly.