A HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – 1/24/16 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
I had to laugh last week, when one of the couples that apparently had won that huge Power Ball Lottery, were describing their reaction to their number being called on live TV. The one couple said that he had gone to bed, she was still up listening for the numbers to be called out, just before the late news. She said that she looked at the ticket, and then she kept looking at the Powerball number on the TV screen. She checked the number on the ticket against the number on the TV screen, six or seven times, before she woke up her husband. And the first thing that he did, was he re-checked the numbers again, multiple times, on the ticket against the numbers on their TV. After multiple times of coming up with the exact same winning numbers, the couple finally let themselves realize that they had in fact, won part of the biggest Powerball jackpot ever! According to them, it was an overwhelming realization. Things like that don’t just happen to average, every day, people! And then, of course, that’s when the fear started setting in. They needed a lawyer. They needed an accountant. They needed some protection. They needed to get their act together before the word got out. The word that they used to describe it all, was “unbelievable”. They couldn’t believe what had just happened to them! It was not your typical Wednesday night.
I suppose that it must have been very much the same for everybody sitting there in that Synagogue in Nazareth, on the day that Jesus came in, and read from the Prophet Isaiah. Certainly, everybody there that day had heard the reading from Isaiah before, some of them many times before. And yet, it is Jesus’ words that He says next, that would shatter their world. “Today, this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” There must have been a lot of elbowing the side of your spouse and whispering going on! Did He really say that? Did He just say what I think He said? Did you just hear the same thing that I heard? Jesus’ words in the Synagogue at Nazareth two-thousand years ago, were very much like hearing the winning lottery numbers last Wednesday night, when you had a winning ticket. This was unbelievable! The Messiah had arrived. God had fulfilled His promise. The salvation of Israel was now at hand. The Jewish people had waited for years for this. And Jesus tells them that day in the Synagogue, that their wait is over! It was too much to comprehend!
And then of course, it is made even more complicated by the fact that this is Nazareth, where Jesus had grown up. These people know Jesus. They have watched Him grow up. They knew His father and mother. They had furniture in their homes that was made or repaired in His father’s workshop. Could the Messiah really come from one of them? Could the Messiah be someone that they already knew? It was a lot to take in. It was all pretty unbelievable!
But St. Luke begins his Gospel with this story. The Good News for us this week is that the Messiah has arrived. He is here. And He is one of us. And He wants to save His people. And that really is good news! In the eternal vision of things, it is even better than winning the lottery! Our God is about to conquer sin and death. And that will change our lives forever!
In 2016, we’ve got to know this. And we’ve got to get to know more and more every day, this Jesus Who is the Messiah! And we can’t ever be too familiar with him either. You know, many of us have also grown up with Jesus. He’s been a part of our lives from the very beginning. It is far too easy to get too familiar and too comfortable with Him, so much so, that we can’t let Him be God in our lives. And we really don’t want that to happen!
It would be very surprising to win the lottery. It would take a great deal of verification to get us to believe it! It shouldn’t be surprising at all, that God has saved us. He told us all along that He was going to do it. How He’d do it, and Who He’d use to save us, might be a little surprising. But God is faithful to all His promises. And for that, today, we give thanks and rejoice! For it is better, than winning the lottery!
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!