Tag Archives: Fourth Sunday Ordinary Time

Fourth Sunday Ordinary Time

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!

There is a woman theologian by the name of Elizabeth Johnson, who describes the “unclean spirit” in today’s gospel as, “the hardening of the mind against unwanted wisdom”.

She says that is what happens when our certainties and securities are so threatened that we DO NOT want the kinds of “unwanted insights” that rock our boats.

You have to wonder if such a mindset is behind the lack of respect and civility we see so much of these days in politics, business, religion… life?

One might rightly discern that the only remedy for this kind of hardening of hearts is a true conversion of hearts.

Today’s Responsorial Psalm says it well, “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts!”

Our Scriptures direct us to ask the question, “where might our heart be closed to others, to God?  Where might our hearts be closed to the wisdom of others, of God?”

Today’s Scriptures are calling us to greater love, to a deeper love of God and others… a love that does not dismiss implicitly or explicitly, but to a love that invites “coming together.”

A love that invites us to “grow in love of God and others together.”

A love that invites us to continue the work of being and becoming authentic disciples of Jesus Christ today and everyday.

A love that invites us to OPEN our hearts and minds and lives to the Spirit of God within us and to the Voice of God that can speak to us in so many ways and through so many people

A love that invites us to be authentic disciples who do not dismiss, but discern that Voice of God that speaks to us today and into the future.  This Voice of God that is concerned about his people wherever they are, wherever they work and live, wherever the cry of the poor and needy resonates.

If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.  May we respond to that Voice of God with lives filled with justice, empathy, compassion, respect and love!

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

NoteThis was Homily Given at Corpus Christi Church, Round Lake, NY

Scripture Readings:     Jeremiah 1:4-5;    1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13;    Luke 4:21-30

Today, we hear about Jeremiah the Prophet.  And like most Prophets, they often are reluctant Prophets.  Reluctant because their message is usually not well received.  Reluctant because their message seems to put them in grave danger.

Prophets… challenge the people.

Prophets… often insist that we re-focus our eyes of Faith.

And then there is Jesus in today’s Gospel, as He often does, He tries to expand the minds of the people by getting them to refocus the eyes of their Faith:  If God cares about everyone, so should God’s people.

Prophets are not plentiful… yet, it seems that every age has at least one or two prophets.

Consider:  Pope Francis…  He seems to have all the characteristics of a Prophet.  Reluctant to be the Prophet – really who in their right mind would want to be Pope?  Yet, that reluctant Cardinal knew these words of God to Jeremiah, “Before you were in the womb, I knew you.  Stand up and tell them all that I command you.”

And it is very interesting with Pope Francis, like Prophets of the past, they almost never tell us anything new.  They simply take the beliefs and practices that we have put to the side and put them front and center.

Consider for instance the Top Ten List of the Pope that surfaced from various sharing by the Pope that are very much worth not only of our consideration but our implementation:

  1. Don’t Gossip
  2. Finish your Meals
  3. Make time for others
  4. Choose the “more humble” purchase
  5. Meet the Poor “in the flesh”
  6.  Stop Judging Others
  7. Befriend those who disagree
  8. Make Commitments, such as marriage
  9. Make it a habit to “ask the Lord”
  10. Be happy

And speaking of the Pope… what request does the Pope often ask of the people he meets with?     Answer:   “Pray for Me”.

I remember vividly that on the Pope’s visit to the United States several months ago, he would repeatedly say, “pray for me.”  And even as he came near the end of his visit to the United States he said again, “pray for me,” and then with his wry little smile added, “Don’t forget.”

Often as Catholics we complain about lots of people.   The people who don’t go to Church; the people who think or live differently than we do; the people who change things; the people who do not do things as we think they should, and on the list goes.

How does this change?

Well, maybe the answer comes from an Evangelical Minister friend of mine who shared in his Christmas card to me, “my hope is that God might inspire some of your faithful to truly Pray for One (or more) who have let their devotion drift or who have never trusted in Christ at all – to consider his Lordship.”

Great words for us to act upon as Disciples of the Lord.  Maybe with Lent only 10 days from now, we might:

“Pray for One” (or more)….and pray for them daily!

Who will we ADD to our Prayer List this Lent 2016?

Who will be the ONE?