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3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Reflection

Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: the view of the above alone.

Good News isGod News”. There is only an ‘o’ difference, but it makes clear that this is the Gospel message. People talk of ‘Fake News’; better to speak of ‘Faith News’. Jesus gives us His news, ‘The time has come, and the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent and believe the Good News.’ [Mark i1:15]

Before the 14th Century, instead of using the word “news”, English speakers typically used “tidings”, meaning the “announcement of an event”. At the birth of Christ, the Angels brought the Shepherds, “tidings of great joy”.

Every day, many of us listen to and read the ‘news’. Much of what we receive is often, “bad news” or “sad news”. It is hard to get good news reported. In many way, this is understandable. Accidents, injuries, war, starvation, people’s suffering and many other tragedies come in the daily news. There can creep in a certain fatigue. Sometimes, we become almost numb in the face of war and appalling suffering of people around us.

But, as believers are we sufficiently drawn to “Good News”? Many people when thinking of their religious belief, start with doctrine, teachings, morality, eternal truths and so on. These are there and necessary. But, they are not the most fundamental. They are not the Good News which we read of today at Mass.

There is only one Good News and it is not a teaching or a doctrine; rather, it is a Person. Jesus is the good news. Without that being the starting point of the faith journey, there will remain a certain sadness or coldness in religious belief and practice. Could that be the reason that some people no longer walk with Jesus or join the weekly meeting with Him that is Sunday Mass? I’m only asking.

At the beginning God calls four fishermen and commissions them to change their style of fishing. I love fish from the sea, lakes and rivers but like the first four called, I have been ‘ordained’ to learn another type of ‘fishing’. Jesus is the first and best ‘fisher of people – men, women and children’. His ‘bait’ is His own love and compassion. Jesus does not use any false or fake ‘bait’ to attract people. He offers His own Body and Blood.

Some people feel that this is too ‘soft’ and that we should use ‘vinegar’ rather than all this talk about ‘Good News’. I worry that the biggest defect in my life – and especially in any preaching I have done over decades – is that I have ‘masked’ the beauty and power of Jesus and His message. What is this good news in practical terms? The Sacraments, the Beatitudes, this congregation at Mass, unconditional love in Confession, tenderness felt in prayer and much more. {Why not make your own Good News list for your life?}

Because I believe that Jesus loves me unconditionally, I must repent of my sins and narrowness. Why? Because my ‘good news’ for Jesus is that I want to love Him unconditionally in return, which is what faith and conversion mean to me. All the truths and doctrines, then become alive because they are the Word speaking to us in human words. But to miss out falling in love with the Word, may leave me very observant and orthodox. But, I will also be cold and empty. Then I will be a poor fisher of people.

Before finishing, I want to salute Jonah. I love his story. He runs away when asked by God to be a ‘fisher of people’. He wants nothing to do with this and tries to escape. His plans go wrong and instead of catching fish, a fish catches him and holds him captive! Eventually, he surrenders to God and heads towards Nineveh. His preaching was stark – there will be a calamity within 40 days. That focuses the mind of Ninevites! They repent. Jonah is furious. He didn’t want this to be a good news story. There are still people like him, preferring to be a ‘prophet of doom’ rather than a ‘bearer of good news’.


Saint Joseph's Catholic Church
50 Avenue Hoche
75008 Paris, France
33(0)1 42 27 28 56

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