4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 28, 2024

Year B


Discover the deeper meaning and connections found in this week's readings, through these great commentaries written by our priests.

The Word

Explore this week's readings and hear what God is saying to us through His Word.

Liturgy notes

Find out more about how we can mark this special day in our liturgy.


See our music recommendations for the liturgy.


Fr Antony Fyk

After a baptism, the celebrant performs an anointing with Chrism and says “The God of power and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin and brought you to new life through water and the Holy Spirit. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation, so that, united with his people, you may remain for ever a member of Christ who is Priest, Prophet, and King.” The anointing signifies our sharing in the priesthood, kingship, and prophetic office of Jesus Christ. Today’s scripture readings bring to mind the prophetic role of Jesus Christ, and by extension our share in this very office. We may have the notion that a prophet is someone who has divine or secret insight of future events that will come, but simply put, a prophet is one who points the way to God.  We are all called to be prophets. We have all received the divine call, as God’s children in our baptism and confirmation, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, which is a message of love, a message of justice, a message of peace, and a message of reconciliation.  Through our words and actions, we are to promote justice and peace, to defend the weak and rejected of society, to live a life of honesty and integrity following the pattern set before us in the life of Jesus Christ. This is only possible if it based on a firm foundation of prayer. Being a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, does not mean that we escape from the world, society, and culture we live in, but to the contrary, to engage with the world, to be a voice of truth, to speak out against injustice and hatred, and pointing the way to God, which is the way of peace, reconciliation, and love. We have nothing to fear, for God will put his words into our mouths, will strengthen us with fortitude to speak with authority. We may take inspirations from the numerous prophets of the Old Testament, or look at some modern-day examples, such as Damien of Molokai, Oscar Romero and Teresa of Calcutta.

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Catholicism of the Catholic Church References:

CCC 547-550:Jesus accompanies words with miracles
CCC 447, 438, 550: Jesus’ power over demons
CCC 64, 762, 2595: the role of the prophet
CCC 922, 1618-1620: virginity for the sake of the Kingdom

Liturgy notes

Paul Inwood

“The Word of the Lord”. We hear these words so frequently that we may risk taking them for granted. Today’s readings focus today on the word of the Lord (1st reading), the voice of the Lord (psalm), giving our undivided attention to the Lord (2nd Reading, also the Collect: “may we honour you with all our mind”), and the authoritative teaching of the Lord (Gospel). And last Sunday was the Sunday of the Word of God.

We might ask ourselves what goes through our mind when we hear a reader saying “The Word of the Lord”. Do we really believe it? Do we really believe that this is what we have been hearing, and that this Word is calling us to focus more intently on the Lord? Or does it come across as just another phrase, tacked onto the end of the reading? Yes, many readers do read the phrase in a perfunctory way without thinking about what the words actually mean. It’s tremendously helpful to have a significant pause — perhaps as much as 10 seconds or more — between the proclamation of the actual scriptural text and the uttering of that concluding formula. Not only does it allow all of us, reader included, to meditate briefly on the word that we have heard and make it our own, but it gives that concluding formula a chance to come alive instead of going over our heads. Notice that all this does not apply only to the 1st and 2nd Readings: it’s just as true when it comes to the Gospel reading.

When the General Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass (1981, para 28) recommends “short intervals of silence, suited to the assembly, as an opportunity to take the word of God to heart and to prepare a response to it in prayer”, this is what it is referring to, amongst other things: silence after the proclamation of the scriptural text and before the announcement of the concluding formula. There commendation of brief meditative silences after the readings is also echoed in General Instruction of the Roman Missal, para 45.

Music recommendations

These hymns have been picked and chosen from different sources.

Thou whose almighty Word (CFE738, L887, LHON689, TCH269)

Open your ears, O Christian people (CFE582, L472, LHON546)

Blest are the pure in heart (CFE88, L908, LHON174, TCH208)

In the land of hunger (CFE307, L975)


CFE - Celebration Hymnal for Everyone

L – Laudate

LHON – Liturgical Hymns Old and New (Mayhew,  1999)

TCH – The Catholic Hymnbook (Gracewing)

Any questions?

Do you have questions about the liturgy and how we are called to participate in it? Explore how the Church councils, saints, and popes have answered this key question and many more.

Discover the Mass

Every movement of the Mass is rich in meaning but we can become over-familiar with it. Rediscover the Mass and explore how it relates to the Exodus story, where many of its rituals come from, and how it makes Jesus present to us today.