February 3, 2019

A HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” –  2/3/19  –  SMG

+  Pax et Bonum!    Peace and goodness to each of you this day!

You know, at first, we might think that being a prophet for God, might be a really cool job.  Can you imagine how fun it would be to work for God, and to be His mouthpiece?  I guess, as a priest, I work for God.  And it is pretty cool, most of the time!  What is it that they say, the pay is not best, but the retirement plan is out of this world.  But even more than a priest, a prophet gets to deliver messages for God.  A prophet has inside information on what God is planning on doing next.  A prophet has God on their side, and the promise that God is going to take care of you, if you stick with His message.  Being a prophet is kinda like the religious equivalent of being a secret agent for God.  It is sorta like a religious James Bond, without the scantily-clad girls and the very cool cars.  The problem with being a prophet, is that the vast majority of the prophets, of the Old Testament, at least, did end up getting killed.  You see, a prophet has to speak the truth, God’s truth, and there are a lot of people who don’t like hearing the truth.  It makes them mad.  It can make them do terrible things.

Take Jeremiah, from our first reading today, for instance.  Jeremiah didn’t even want to be a prophet, because he knew how most of the prophets ended up.  Jeremiah told God to go and call someone else, because he was too young.  He thought nobody would listen to him, because he was only in his late teens.  And, let’s be honest, because Jeremiah was, Jeremiah was a very young man with his entire life ahead of him, and Jeremiah didn’t want to die.  So God promises Jeremiah that He will always be with him, and will always take care of him, and that’s what we hear about in our first reading.  God is faithful to the young prophet, and God loves Jeremiah very much.

In our Gospel today, from St. Luke, it is Jesus who is being prophetic.  If you remember from last week, Jesus is home in Nazareth, and He’s doing a reading from Isaiah in the synagogue.  And last week, St. Luke tells us that the people were pretty amazed at Jesus, and everything seemed to be going fairly well.  Jesus tells the people, in a very prophetic way, that the scripture from Isaiah is fulfilled in their hearing.  But this week, Jesus goes on, and He knows the people are thinking, “Physician heal thyself” and they want Him to do the miracles that He had done in Capernaum, and He says, “No prophet is accepted in his own native place”.  Then, Jesus brings up two stories about the prophets Elisha and Elijah that were real sore points, for the Jewish people.  This would have been like Jesus rubbing salt into a wound.  And the people get mad.  In fact, this week, they want to throw Jesus off a cliff.  When Jesus is being prophetic, they don’t want to hear what He has to say.

We very much feel for both Jeremiah and Jesus this week.  It is not easy to be a prophet, or to be prophetic.  And yet, by our Baptisms, each and every one of us are also called to be prophets, and to be prophetic.  And maybe we don’t want to be prophetic any more than what Jeremiah did.  But it is still who and what we are called to be.  Today, in 2019, we are called to be the voice of God for our world, calling everybody to what is right and true.  And still today, you

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do that in the wrong way, or in the wrong place, or in front of the wrong people, and it will still get you killed.  It’s true.  We can even name the topics… Abortion, Homosexuality, Co-habitation before marriage, in vitro fertilization, divorce and re-marriage.  We know all the topics.  And we know the Church teachings, and we know how angry some people can get.  The truth still hurts, even in 2019!  It’s still hard to be the prophet.

So what’s the answer?  How do we remain faithful to our Lord?  How do we be prophetic and tell the truth, and still stay alive in 2019?  Well, I think the answer comes from St. Paul in our second reading, from First Corinthians.  It is the love reading.  It always makes me feel like I’m at a wedding.   St. Paul is telling us that no matter what we have to do, or say, because it is the truth, and it is what God wants and expects, we must do and say with the greatest of love!  Anybody can blurt out the truth, and destroy all kinds of people’s feelings.  We need to tell and live the truth, but we must do so with the greatest love and compassion!  Everything that we do and say MUST be out of a true love and concern for our brothers and sisters.  This kind of love that St. Paul call us to, is challenging.   It means that we always have to focus on what’s best for the other person, no matter what the cost is to ourselves.

This is our challenge as Christians, most especially as Catholic Christians.  We must couch everything that we do, our every effort to be priest, prophet, and king, with the gift of love, and our practical concern for the benefit of others.

Let’s pray that we be able to do that, this week, in each of our lives!  And let us ask God, for the spiritual gift of love, to go with everything we do!

+ May God bless us this week, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                              AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…        Pray for us !!!