January 27, 2019

A HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” –  1/27/19  –  SMG

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

As human beings, we can have a lot of different reactions to good news.  Some people are very demonstrative of their joy, when they hear good news.  Some people shout out, or shriek, of jump up and down.  These are the people that they like to show us on the Publisher’s Clearing House commercials, when someone wins on of their big prizes.  There are others who are much, much quieter about things, when they get good news.  We would probably call them “reserved”.  And they may smile, or their eyes may light up for a second or two, or they may utter a word or two of gratitude, but it is not always obvious that something great has happened.  Some people are just quieter than others.  You know a great place to find out how people respond to good news?  It’s at Bingo.  You play that great Catholic game of Bingo, and it is going to become real clear, real fast, who jumps up and shrieks when they win, and who just sits there, and barely says “Bingo.” when they win.  Bingo will do that.  It separates the loud and vocal people, from the quiet and more reserved people.  How we react to good news, is a big deal.  Just look at all three of our readings today.

First of all, in our first reading from Nehemiah, Ezra is reading to the people God’s new covenant.  And this new covenant is good news.  And how do the people of Nehemiah react?  Well, at first they start crying.  They cry and lament for their sins and failings, as they realize how much they have hurt God.  So Ezra, tells them, not to cry, and then they cry all the more, only this time they cry out of joy, as they begin to understand God’s love for them, and His promise of redemption.  Some people cry at good news.  Italians cry at good news.  Italians cry all the time.

Then, in our second reading, St. Paul is reminding us that we are the Body of Christ.  He says that we were baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of the one Spirit.  This too is great news.  We are all the Body of Christ, and that includes all the Christians who have gone before us, and it also includes all Christians who profess the same Faith today all over the world!  We are part of the one body that includes members in China, and Russia, and Turkey, and Sweden, and South Africa, and Bolivia, and even Noblesville!  That’s a massive, powerful crew!  And that’s who we are as God’s Church!  And that really is Good News also.  St. Paul says that we should rejoice in being members of the Body of Christ.  And he reminds us that we are all in this life together!

Finally, we get to the beginning of Luke’s Gospel, and St. Luke has the good people of Nazareth rejoicing over Jesus’ return home.  This is very early on, in Jesus’ ministry.  And St. Luke says that at least at this time, the people were spellbound by Jesus’ words.  Just like Ezra had done in the first reading, Jesus reads to the people from the Prophet Isaiah, about what God is about to do.  And then Jesus tells them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Talk about great news!  The people of Nazareth are mesmerized!  They don’t necessarily understand what the carpenter’s son just said, but there’s a great feeling of anticipation that they are about to be involved in something very powerful.

This is the Good News of the God to Whom we belong!  This good news is worth getting excited for and about.   This is the Christ Who fulfills the law of love and embodies the promise of eternal life.  We ALL have our purpose in God’s plan, just as Jesus did!  Ezra and Nehemiah led the Israelites out of exile.  Paul’s mission was to evangelize the Gospel to the whole world.  Luke was given the job of creating a record of Jesus’ ministry.  But make no mistake about it, you and I, and each one of us, also have our own very specific, unique roles to play, in this story.  We are all different parts of the Body of Christ.  But it is truly going to take all of us, to build Jesus’ Kingdom.  We are one body, one spirit in Christ!  And that is great news, for all of us, to get excited about!

+  May God bless us as fulfill His mission for us,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…       AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…       Pray for us !!!