A HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “B” – 2/1/15 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and Goodness to you this day!
Today St. Mark has Jesus in Capernaum. It is the Sabbath, and so like all good Jews, Jesus goes to the synagogue to pray. And it is while He is there, that He runs into this man with an unclean spirit. Now, the Gospel doesn’t tell us why he was unclean, or how you knew exactly that he had this evil spirit in him. It makes you wonder what this man done that made this so very clear? Maybe he cheated on his taxes. Maybe he was using profanities. Maybe he had just stolen the collection. Maybe, he had provided under-inflated footballs to his team in a championship game. We don’t know. But he was an unclean spirit! And he gets in this confrontation with Jesus, that happens right there in the middle of the synagogue! This is an amazing story. This is a story that exemplifies the power that Jesus had, even over unclean spirits! This story really demonstrated the great authority that Jesus taught with!
And yet, what if you had come to the synagogue that day late? What if the camel didn’t start, or the baby needed a diaper change, or what if you had just over-slept and got there late? It is entirely possible that there were people who missed this entire encounter between Jesus and the unclean spirit, because they simply didn’t get to the synagogue on time. Do you know where I’m going with this? Yes, this is that homily again. My brothers and sisters, it is very important for all of us to get to Mass on time. You never know what you are going to miss when you are not here! It still amazes me that so many of us who would never think of ever going to a basketball game or a movie or a concert, late. But we don’t have any problem coming to Mass late. And I’m not talking about the coming to Mass late, once in awhile, when some emergency happens. I’m talking about the coming to Mass late every week because we didn’t plan properly. But I’m telling you, you never know what you are going to miss when you’re not here on time!
This is also a great reason to pay attention at Mass. I wonder if there were people in that synagogue that day, who were sitting in the back and not paying attention, or reading text messages on their phone, or who were just in their own little world, you never saw Jesus drive the evil spirit out of the man. They missed it and they were right there! How many things do we miss at Mass? We too might be right here, but still miss out on important things that Jesus is doing right in front of us! We’ve got to learn to pay better attention at Mass. How can we experience Jesus’ teaching and authority if we aren’t giving Him our attention? It won’t work.
And finally, what IF we were in that synagogue that day, but we had left early? Can you imagine what it would have been like, to have gotten to Applebee’s a little bit earlier, or to have avoided the line at the gas station, or even to just home a little earlier, and then find out that you had missed Jesus performing an exorcism, because you had left early? It’s not worth it. You never know what Jesus is going to do, in the final minutes of Mass! But you’ll never know, if you leave early! We should always stay until Mass is done. Just last week, I had someone ask me a question about “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”, that we had announced at the end of all the Masses the week before. Why didn’t they know what was going on? They didn’t know what was going on because they leave early every week. Do you know, there’s a very powerful blessing that takes place at the end of every Mass? That blessing is worth sticking around for. I promise you. But we have a great number of Catholics who don’t know about that blessing and have never received that blessing because they are routinely not here for end of Mass. Please stick around for the end of Mass. We don’t want you to miss a thing!
Certainly, there were people who didn’t see what Jesus did in that synagogue two-thousand years ago. Whether they weren’t there on time, or they weren’t paying attention, or they had left early, they missed out. They missed out. We can’t blame God if we’re the ones who aren’t around when He does some of His greatest miracles! Let us pay attention. Let us take seriously our attendance at Mass. And let us give our God our very best, so that we can experience Him in new and greater ways!
+ God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
+St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us!!!