January 22, 2017

A HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME  –  CYCLE “A” –  1/22/17  –  SMG

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

There are times, when the strongest, most independent people in the world, should NOT be alone.  Even hermits need to check-in with their spiritual directors once in awhile.  We ALL need other people.  No man is an island.  And we weren’t designed or built to be that way either, no matter how self-sufficient we want to consider ourselves.  Sometimes, you just need somebody to tell you that you have a piece of lettuce stuck in your teeth, or that you still have the price tag on your new sweatshirt, or that your zipper is unzipped.  Any zipper!  Isn’t that the most horrible thing?  That’s how you know when you have a true friend, when they can tell you that you’re unzipped!

We know from the Bible, that God never intended for us to be alone, or all by ourselves, either.  There was always God’s promise in the Old Testament, that He would always be there for His people, that He would never abandon them.  Isaiah echoes this today in our First Reading.  And even Jesus, Himself, called the Apostles, and had His disciples, His family, and His friends around Him a lot of the time.  Even Jesus needed other people!  And He knew this!  And that’s why today we see Jesus begin to call the Apostles to Himself, by first offering the “call” to the fishermen brothers:  First, Simon and Andrew, and then just a short distance down the shore, to the younger James and John.  We’ve talked before about why Jesus may have chosen fishermen.  Today I think it is also important for us to remember that Jesus first chose brothers!

You know, it’s not easy to be brothers.  Growing up in the same house, with the same parents and the same values, can also lead to some very serious competition!  Brothers can be one another’s harshest critics and may have the highest expectations for each other.  But brothers are brothers forever!  Good or bad.  Close or not-so-close.  Those with similar values and those who don’t have similar values.   True brothers are going to hang in there with each other, until the very end.

And maybe that’s why Jesus wanted, and really needed, some brothers to be in that group of Apostles, to show them all how to love one another, like brothers, and to show them how to stick together.  We don’t know whether or not Simon Peter and Andrew were close.  We don’t know very much about the relationship between James and John.   We DO KNOW that it is oftentimes hard to work in the family business with your siblings.  Did these brothers go on vacation together?  Did they like to play cards together on Saturday night?  Did they argue over who had to do what jobs or chores?  That one has to be true!

My brothers and sisters, this weekend, we are reminded that we need others, not only in our lives, but also in our Christian lives!  We’re not following Jesus by ourselves!  We’re in this together as Church!  And as Church, as a family, as Catholic Christians who are connected to one another, we need to constantly be helping one another to get home to Heaven and to always follow Jesus Christ!  We can’t do this on our own.  We need good examples.  We need people to discuss our Faith with, and talk about it with, and get the right answers to our questions.  We need real brothers and sisters who are going to keep us on track on the journey of our Faith lives!  It is so easy to get off track today.  It is so easy for us to think that everything’s OK, even when it is not!  It is so easy for us to quit listening to anybody, and to get far, far away from God!   We keep one another grounded in our Faith!  We help one another to be accountable to God, to the Church, and even to ourselves!

This is another reason why we NEED to come to Mass every week and be with the Church, be with others.  Our gathering together is a visible sign of our unity in the Faith, and a reminder that none of us are alone!  And today in 2017, as Catholic Christians we need to remember that.  We need that unity and support today more than ever!  May we always find that unity and support in our community!  And may each one of us be willing to do everything that we can, to always be examples of that unity and support for all those we meet every day.  That kind of unity and support is what even the strongest and most self-sufficient of us long for!  Just like for the Apostles, God wants us to find it, in His Churrch!

+   May God bless us and help us to build that kind of community,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…   AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…       Pray for us !!!