February 4, 2018

A HOMILY FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME –  CYCLE “B”  –  2/4/18  –  SMG

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

One of the most interesting surprises of the four Gospels, is where Jesus meets people and comes into their lives.  It’s surprising because we might think that Jesus, as a young rabbi, would run into most of the people that He would meet, in the Temple, or synagogue, or some other place of prayer.  When in fact, time after time in the Gospels, Jesus is meeting people at all sorts of different places:  Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at a well, He met Peter, and Andrew, and James and John on their boats, He meets the repentant thief on the cross, and in today’s Gospel, Jesus goes to the home of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, where He cures her, and restores her to fullness of health.  Our Gospel story this weekend is meant to remind us that our God works everywhere!   Don’t get me wrong, the Lord can do amazing things in churches, and chapels, and cathedrals.  But faith and religion also work at work, and at school, and at the market, and at home, most especially in our homes and in our families!  We don’t want to ever limit where God can work.

The other important thing that we want to make sure that we’re not limiting is to whom Jesus came for.  In our Gospel today, the people of this little town, the town of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, think that they have it made.  Jesus comes to town and He heals everybody!  And He expels demons from everybody!  From the way that this text makes it sound, this little town is set for a long time.  They don’t need health care, they don’t need doctors, they don’t need medicine, and they don’t need any exorcisms, because Jesus has taken care of all of this for them.  You can see why they would want to keep Jesus around.  These people realize the benefits of His power and abilities!  And so the next morning, they send Simon Peter and few of his other followers to go and find Him, and bring Him back.  And Jesus tells them very clearly that His ministry is for everybody, and so they must keep moving to other towns and villages.  And so apparently, not only can we not limit where God works, but we also can’t limit in whom God works.  The miracles, the healings, the exorcisms, the teachings, all of His ministry, they are for all of us, for everybody, and not just a few.  And we have a special responsibility to make that happen, and not get in the way of it happening.  We must help take Jesus out to others today, and not keep Him locked up, just for ourselves!

And did you notice, that AFTER we experience Jesus’ healing power, after we are changed by His mercy, after He gives us our life back, we are given a job, a mission.   This is right there in this Gospel, when immediately after Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law, she gets up and starts waiting on them.  Did you ever wonder about that?  Shouldn’t she have rested and taken it easy for a couple days, after getting over her fever?  No, that’s not how it works.  She goes to work right away, doing what she can, for the building up of the Kingdom.  It is the same for all of us.  Once we experience Jesus’ healing and forgiving power, once we are the recipients of the power of His love and forgiveness and healing, we are all given a mission, some work to do for God, where God will be praised and glorified for what He has done, and where others will be brought to that same healing and love!  It is the way that the message is shared and passed on to others.  We have a responsibility and very serious mission entrusted to each and every one of us!  How are we doing at living that out?  Are we bringing others to Christ?  Are we sharing the Good News of the Gospel with them?  Are we glorifying God for what He has done in and through us?

Today, each of us as Catholic Christians is called to say with St. Paul: “Woe to me if I do NOT preach the Gospel.   All of us are given this mission.  This is not just for a few, religious types.  There will be times for all of us when our mission is to preach the Gospel through our actions and our lifestyles.  We heard in our Gospel today that everyone was looking for Jesus.  How can we help them to find Him?  What are we doing to help them to find Him?

The truth is that we have experienced His healing power and mercy, and it has changed us.  Now God calls us to go forth to proclaim the good news to all!   Let us not limit the message in any way!  And let us undertake God’s work with joy and gladness!

+ May God bless us as we build His Kingdom in our midst,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…

AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…          Pray for us !!!