To watch Deacon Andy’s homily from the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
Today our Gospel writer Matthew signals the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus, “From this time forward, Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’”
Jesus was preaching Metanoia – which we translate into “repent”, but Metanoia is nothing short of a revolutionary change of outlook.
Maybe one of the best images of Metanoia would be St. Paul’s mind blowing transformation on the road to Damascus. In that incident, Paul, the persecuting preacher of the Christians… becomes the missionary and martyr for the faith of his former Christian victims.
However, a more common image of Metanoia happened to the disciples Jesus invited to leave their nets and boats to follow him. They dropped everything at his invitation, but from that moment until his resurrection, Jesus had to cajole, tutor, and sometimes outright denounce their behavior in his efforts to transform them into disciples who would carry forth his mission. Their Metanoia was a process, not a one and done miracle.
Truth is we are probably a lot more like the disciples, than like St. Paul. And, even so, the majority of us are not called to leave everything behind, rather to let our daily life go through gradual transformations that can turn every profession, every job, and all our relationships into experiences of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The call for Metanoia, nothing short of a revolutionary change of outlook, at present comes from our planet Earth and all its inhabitants.
A few years ago, Pope Francis in his letter (Encyclical) entitled, “Laudato Si” (English: On Care for Our Common Home) called us to Metanoia grounded in the convictions of our faith that can motivate us to a more passionate concern for the protection of our world.
Our faith calls us to discern as Christians to ask what actions on behalf of the Kingdom of Heaven and the protection of our world, are needed today and tomorrow.
As people of faith, what way or ways can we begin to make a positive difference in the “Care of our Common Home”…
In an email I received from friend of mine in Honduras, she mentioned their efforts in their Parish to stop using styrofoam cups and to stop littering.
Might we begin with, recycling a bit more, donating used clothing and furniture, picking up litter and not littering; using water responsibility, using less plastic and paper bags and using re-usable bags…
We all are able to do something – as person, family and Parish.
As my friend in Honduras shared, it is about adopting new lifestyles. It is about Metanoia as Jesus invites us to undertake for the good of the Kingdom of God – here on Earth.
To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
Imagine living in the time of Jesus. As a devout Jew who went to synagogue every Sabbath, part of the prayer ritual was reading from the Hebrew Scripture (aka the “Old Testament). And in walks Jesus, the carpenter’s son, who is asked not only to read the passage from Isaiah, but to share a commentary. And then Jesus says, “This is happening right here, right now”…
And some got it immediately, “Jesus was speaking as if HE was the Anointed One. He was acting as if he believed it.” Not what people expected to hear.
One commentator shares that the reading from Luke’s Gospel is aimed straight at today’s church, reminding us that Jesus’ words are not comfort from the past, but a program for today.
Pope Francis has also shared that, “reading the Scriptures also makes it clear that the Gospel is about the Kingdom of God. To the extent that God reigns within us, the life of society will be a setting for universal fraternity, justice, peace and dignity.”
In a sense, Pope Francis’ words are simply a variation of Jesus announcement that the “Scriptures are fulfilled today in our midst.”
Pope Francis also shared, “both Christian preaching and life, are meant to have an impact on society. That means that if we live as Christians, we will disturb the same sectors of society that Jesus did. If our worship is truly Christian (Christ-centered), it will move us to make a difference.”
For Jesus, the difference centers on being good news to the poor. Which means people who are poor: economically, socially, chronologically, educationally, geographically, or in any other way.
To use the imagery of St. Paul, wherever there is a real presence of the body of Christ, life will be different for the poor, beginning with the fact that they will know that they are loved and respected and that they are invited to our tables.
My friends, we have all been blessed, gifted with Spirit of God. We have all been called to be like Jesus… to bring God’s promises to life in our time and place.
It may be a daunting challenge…
But as people of faith, we are called by the spirit of God to continue to be the body of Christ to those we meet today and every day, to the ends of the earth.
Hopefully today’s scriptures will get us thinking and living/acting in ways that not only help us or me, but help others who look to Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World here on earth as it will be in heaven.
Just maybe today’s Scriptures will get us asking what will we do… What will my family do… What can I do to bring glad tidings to the poor, the captives, those who have lost their way, those who are oppressed?
Like Jesus, may we not only say but may we give evidence to our living of the words of Isaiah each day that “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has sent me to proclaim the Kingdom of God” today, tomorrow and every day!
To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
In Mark’s Gospel, after proclaiming the dawning of the Kingdom of God, Jesus begins enacting it. Those who are broken in body, mind and spirit, are healed. Sinners and outcasts are restored to God and the community, and a few loaves and fish feed 1,000’s.
Where ever Jesus goes, the Kingdom of love, peace and joy break forth. And now we, who are the Body of Christ, are called to continue living into this Kingdom.
The Kingdom of God is among us, within us, around us, and inviting us – every moment of the day, to take our place as Kingdom People. To live in such a manner that the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of peace, love and joy continues to break out all around us… at home, work, school, with our family, friends, co-workers, strangers… With all those people we interact with for a moment or many moments each day.
The question this week many seem simple or easy, but at the same time maybe a challenge. To whom will we bring… To whom will the opportunity arise to bring God’s love, peace and joy to this day, this week…
Maybe we can readily respond to the question or maybe there will be opportunities to be seized in the hours and days ahead to bring God’s love, peace and joy to another or others.
Take the Pope this week on his visit to Chile, where the Pope seized the moment:
As his motorcade was moving by, a police officer was thrown from her horse. What did the Pope do? He stopped the motorcade, got off his “Popemobile,” and went over to the Police Officer, staying until the ambulance arrived.
On his flight over to Chile, on the Papal Plane, a couple from the airlines who had been married civilly but not in a Church due to an earthquake a few years back destroying the church where they were to be married, asked the Pope if he would “bless their marriage.” The Pope went further and on the plane, officiated a Church Wedding Ceremony.
I share these two real stories as moments when the Pope most certainly shared a part of the Kingdom of God with others; where he shared love, peace and joy.
We are not the Pope. We are who we are, but there are or there will be moments today and in the days to come where we as person, family and Parish will have the opportunity to live the Kingdom of God, of love, peace and joy…
May we seize these moments, these opportunities, whether big or small, to share the Kingdom of God, of peace, love and joy with all.
Each month while I was in formation for the diaconate we had to prepare a homily. In our classes we were given some pretty clear instructions about the homilies that we were working on:
- Identify the “Pearl” that we would focus on
- Keep them short, no more than 5 – 7 minutes, no one wants to listen to us ramble for much more than that.
- Oh yes, and remember that our homilies need to be about the readings or the Gospel of the day. Ideally we could touch on all three.
We all got pretty good at following the rules, some of the guys even had the ability, perhaps the gift, of making their homilies entertaining.
But in today’s Gospel we hear Jesus give the perfect homily!
- It was certainly about the reading
- It was short enough to hold everyone’s attention
- And the “Pearl” or the point of His message was painfully clear!
His homily: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
I chuckled to myself as I was preparing for this weekend. I thought imagine being able to say one sentence that everyone would understand, wouldn’t it be great. But in just one sentence Jesus tells the people of Galilee, the people of His time, and all the members of the church today to be PEOPLE OF HOPE!
- Hope that we will overcome whatever obstacles that we may encounter
- HOPE that as long as we:
- Respond to God’s call
- Listen when Jesus says “Follow Me”
- Remember that WE are the CHURCH
GOD and JESUS will walk with us always.
Now, I’m not saying that we should approach life with blind faith or optimism. In order for our hope to flourish we need to have a goal for our community.
- We need to be able to see the world differently than it exists today.
- We need to have a plan.
The other day I heard an example of how hope changed a community. We all remember when Katrina hit New Orleans. There was total devastation. It seemed that there was nothing to be hopeful about.
But there was a woman in the ninth ward who was determined to bring that community back, to give her neighbors something to be hopeful about. She decided that the community needed music. So, without any music books or instruments she started gathering some of the children and adults in the community each day to sing.
They sang songs that many of them knew and she gave that community hope that things would be okay again.
Jesus did the same thing when he said “today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
He gave the people of Galilee hope that everything they had been taught about their faith and the coming Messiah was real!
He gave us HOPE that He, as our Savior, would provide for our eternal souls.
Are you hopeful about the future that God has promised?
Scriptures: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20
Can God Change his Mind?
Well we hear that God can change his mind, if he wants: “As long as God is faithful to God’s people.”
As we heard in the First Reading from Jonah: “When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil ways, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.”
Of course there are many levels to the Book of Jonah and the reading that we heard today.
For example, the author of the Book of Jonah has a few points to make to the readers, among them that “God cannot be squeezed into the box of our making.”
Like people of the past, we the people of today ask, as we prayed and sang in the Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 25: 4-5, 6-7, 8-9): “Teach me your ways, O Lord.”
This is the call of each of us, the disciples of Jesus – “Teach me your ways, O Lord.”
Take the disciples who we hear of today in the Gospel, they left what they were doing to follow the Lord, to learn more about Jesus and “the way” of this Preacher, Jesus.”
Just think of how difficult it was for these first disciples to leave their comfort zones and follow Jesus. They left what they knew and went into what they did not know. But in time, it would begin to be revealed to them.
In our journey of life and faith, to take the next step, to knowing someone, or knowing something, or just changing or improving some part of our life, our selves… We have to leave something behind.
What is it in our lives that God is asking us as person, family and Parish to “leave behind” to change in our lives?
Maybe the nets of self-interest, greed, anger, indifference or deception…
Just getting by… Settling in… Preconceived ideas or beliefs… Attitudes or judgments about people or groups or even God.
Part of our journey of life and faith includes coming to know God more and more. Something that takes a lifetime, and who knows, probably an eternity. But something that is very necessary for us today, as person, family and Parish.
For in the long run, discipleship is about our love of God, our love of others, our faithful discipleship that is centered in Jesus, our Brother and God. A discipleship that continues to hear Jesus say to us, “Come and See; Come Follow Me.” May it come to past that we faithfully: “Followed Him” – (Jesus).
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 8:23-9:3; I Corinthians 1:10-13,17; Matthew 4:12-23
“I urge you,” says St. Paul today to the people of Corinth, “that there be no divisions among you.” Paul was not saying this to the people as a teaching to be remembered for the future. Rather Paul was saying, the division among you at the present time, must end.
And sadly, we are all quite aware of the divisions that continue in our Church, in our Diocese, in our Parish.
Paul wanted the people of Corinth; Paul wants the people of 2014; and the people of St. Mary’s, Crescent to remember that if your faith is centered in Jesus Christ (and it should be) your faith must be centered in love. For as St. Paul shares: Christ died on the cross so that we would love one another.
The cross the great sign of love, the great sign of sacrifice.
And from the time of the Jesus’ Apostles till our time, men and women have lived and died that we may know and love Jesus…
For to know and love Jesus is to know and love and be one with those God loves which is everyone.
The point: true love of God and others leads to unity, to cooperation, to communion, to community and certainly not to division and all that denies the love for God for us and for all people.
There is no doubt that Paul’s concern, Paul’s admonition to the people of Corinth, is also appropriate to us…at least at times. We cannot foster division, gossip, tearing apart the good name and efforts of others – if we are People of Faith. For faith, is not just a word; faith is meant to be lived daily.
How do we step up to our call by Jesus to follow him?
Often, living our faith is not too far away.
It may be as close as spending time with the family…
It may be as close as praying as a family…
It may be as close as supporting a fellow student or co-worker…
If may be as close as getting involved in your Parish or in our community…
It may be as close as seeing the good in others…how’s that phrase go?
“Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.”
It may be as close as saying – YES to the invitation to join, to be involved, to help out.
You know, we are a better family, a better community, a better school, a better work place, a better Parish…when we:
- Truly love others, as our brothers and sisters
- See Christ in one another
- Live the love we speak
In a few moments we will again gather around the table…we will pray that we will grow in unity, we will share in the Sacrament of life and love and unity – The Eucharist – Communion.
May this Sacrament strengthen us in our efforts, as disciples of the Lord in 2014, to come together, to encourage others to join us as a community of faith centered in Jesus Christ and His Gospel message, and nothing less, as we go out into the world to illumine others with a living love that is of God; unconditional and ever present.