To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
Our first reading from Deuteronomy talks of a new prophet who will save the people from… get ready of it: GOD.
It seems that the appearance of God was so terrifying to the ancient Jews, at least in this Scripture, that the people asked for a prophet who would protect them from God. “Let us not again hear the voice of the Lord, our God, nor see this great fire anymore, lest we die.”
So in place of listening to the frightening God, they can more easily obey the words of the prophet. One might appreciate from this Old Testament story how crucial the ministry of Jesus was.
If in ancient times ideas of God were influenced by images of lightning, thunder and earthquakes, Jesus comes to show us a God of infinite tenderness and mercy and love. In Jesus, we have a Prophet who is able to reveal God perfectly, because he is God’s Son.
And as we hear in the Gospel today, Jesus makes an impression on the people, “Jesus speaks and acts ‘with authority’”.
Jesus just doesn’t talk the talk, He walks the walk.
Jesus calls people of “yesterday, today and tomorrow” to believe in a God who can make a difference in their lives.
The preaching of Jesus was, to use a word, effective, because He had the ability to change lives, the capacity to fill people with hope and wonder. Put another way, Jesus’ power to amaze people happened BECAUSE faith can bring so much power into our lives, if we let it…
If we let it….
Truth is, we can all make God seem remote from time to time.
In the time of Jesus and all thru the ages… Many people refused to be amazed by Jesus because he threatened the way they were living or how they understood the world or even understood God. As the Prophet Isaiah reminds us, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ says the Lord”.
Jesus can be effective only with people who let him be effective. The people who let Jesus have a principal, important place in their lives.
If goes without saying that we do not need protection from the God of Israel, the God of Jesus.
Maybe today’s Responsorial Psalm is meant to continually remind us that, “if today you hear the voice of God, harden not your hearts”.
May we not harden our hearts or put another way: MAY WE OPEN our HEARTS & LIVES to God’s love, forgiveness, understanding. God’s care for all people in body, mind and spirit. God’s desire to have us see beyond ourselves and self-interest. God’s desire for us to be more than we think we can be. God’s desire to transform our lives as person, family, church and world, to being AMAZED as people of faith have been for centuries.