Jan 31, 2016

A HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME –CYCLE “C” –  1/31/16  – SMG

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

Some times, we don’t want to listen.  Some times, we very selectively tune-out all of those challenges to the way that we want to live our comfortable lives.  We don’t want to hear the truth.  And so we don’t.   We ignore or don’t pay any attention to the prophetic voices in our world today that ask us to change some parts of our lives.  For example, how many medical studies have told us that we eat way too much sugar?  Lots of them, right?  And yet, every year we eat more and more sugary foods and drink more and more sugary drinks.  And the rates of Type 2 Diabetes continue to skyrocket in this country.  They also tell us to wear our seat belts, to eat green, leafy vegetables, to exercise three of four times a week, and to get plenty of rest and drink lots of water.  It’s all great advice.  We could all live a whole lot longer and healthier, if only we would listen, if only we would give the good advice a chance.  But we don’t listen.  And we don’t like being told what to do, even when it is good for us!

Today in our readings, both Jeremiah and Jesus find this same thing out.  In our First Reading, Jeremiah can’t get his own people to listen to him and change their lives for God.  Then our Gospel today, is a direct continuation of our story from last week.  Jesus is home.  He is at Nazareth.  He’s already begun His public ministry.  He goes into the Synagogue and He reads the Prophet Isaiah.  But the real bombshell from last week, wasn’t Isaiah’s words.  It was what Jesus said, afterwards!  Jesus told them that that day, God had fulfilled His promise.  The Messiah had arrived.  Now, as we talked about last week, this should have been great news!  After all, the Jewish people had been waiting on the Messiah for centuries!  And Jesus’ message in the Synagogue that day is great news for all of us.  God is saving His people.  God is going to take care of us.  But for the good people of Nazareth, they couldn’t see the good news in all of this, because they were stuck on Jesus.  Jesus couldn’t be the Messiah.  They knew Him.  Or at least they thought that they did!  They knew Him too well.  And so the good people of Nazareth, aren’t so good anymore, and they won’t listen, not even to God, when He is standing right there in front of them.

And that’s our situation today.  And in St. Luke’s Gospel, the people of Nazareth don’t just reject Jesus.  According to St. Luke, they want to kill Jesus.  They drive Him out of town, to a high cliff, certainly to a place that Jesus must have known, and they are going to kill Him!  That’s how upset they were about this!  That’s how very much they didn’t want to hear what Jesus had to say!  Today, we mostly just ignore prophets when we don’t like what they say.  There in Nazareth on that day, they want to permanently silence Jesus.  They really don’t want to hear what He has to say!

My brothers and sisters, as we hear this second half of the story, how do we silence God and His prophets in our lives today?  We’re pretty good about politely listening to God and His Church’s challenges to our lives.  But listening and hearing are two different things.  We might listen to the Church on being Pro-Life, or on having only what we need, or on taking care of the poor, but do we really hear and do something about those challenges?  Too many times, we don’t.  And that’s too bad, because the Church offers us hundreds of challenges every day to get us home to Heaven.  And while we all might say that we all want to go to Heaven, not so many of us want to change our lives, want to take the advice that we need, to make that happen.

Jesus today reminds that people of Nazareth that it is their choice, whether or not to believe Him and follow Him.  But Jesus reminds them that if they don’t want to listen to His advice, that there will be other who will.  The Kingdom of God will be taken away from those who rejected it, and given to others who will listen, who will follow.

Today the same option is given to us by God.  We don’t have to follow Him.  We don’t have to listen.  We don’t have to change our lives.  We can go our own way, as Fleetwood Mac used to say.  But God’s way works a whole lot better.  And it gets us home to Heaven.  Before we reject such an exceptional offer, let us make sure that we know what we’re giving up.  May we heed the prophetic voice of the Lord.  And May we listen to His way!

+ God bless us today,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                                AMEN !!!