What will you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Everything!

 

Fourth Sunday Ordinary Time

Deuteronomy 18:15-20

I Corinthians 7:32-35

Mark 1: 21-28

 

The Gospel of Mark, is an amazing piece of work because the writer Mark has Jesus in a hurry to carry on the work of his Father. The Gospel of Mark is the shortest and what is important is not so much the words of Jesus but the actions of Jesus. Mark has Jesus doing in 28 sentences what it takes Matthew and Luke five chapters to do. Slowpokes! In our story today we are told that the people were amazed about his preaching, yet we are not told one thing about what Jesus preached about in this story. Jesus wants to make sure his actions speak louder than his words. Jesus wants to answer the question, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” The simple response of Jesus is “Everything; I want everything to do with you!” Ok, ready, because here we go!

 

How does he get in? There is no reason for a man who is screaming and yelling to be allowed into the synagogue. Surely, someone would have stopped him and politely or physically escorted him out. If someone came screaming and yelling right now into the church, I would hope that someone would stop him before he got up here to me. Here is how I think the possessed man gets in. There are two parts to the man; there is the evil part that fears Jesus and wants nothing to do with Jesus. This evil side of the man cries out in fear, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, you are the Holy One of God!”

There is also a good part, and this part welcomes Jesus and wants Jesus into his life. The good side of the man says, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I hope so, because I know who you are, and because you are the Holy One of God I want you to get rid of this part of myself so I can and give everything to you.”

 

We have to answer the question of, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” How many of us came kicking and screaming to church today? How many came thinking just be quiet so we can get this over with, I have other things to do? Our evil side says, “I like to drink excessively, I like to look at porn, and I like to lie, cheat, and gossip. What we need to realize is our evil side, when feeling afraid, or in doubt will always come and tell us we need these evil things to make us feel better. We need to train ourselves to listen to our good side that says, “Lord, I give you everything, and I trust that when I stop doing these evil things, I will know peace, joy, and happiness.”

 

As we gather we need to answer the question, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, you are the Holy One of God!” May we hear Jesus say to us, “Quiet! Come out!”

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Our tough times as a blessing!

 

Friday of the Third Week of Ordinary Time

St. Timothy & Titus

II Timothy 1:1-8

Mark 4: 21-25

Things are tough with the flu bug going around. Yesterday, we had seven staff people out and over 20 kids. Our principal went home sick, and last night he could not get enough subs to have school today. Our readings know about tough times and give us words of encouragement.

 

Timothy and Titus who we celebrate today knew plenty about tough times. Paul sends Timothy to Ephesus to be a Bishop and tells Timothy the people there are like a beast. Timothy would be made fun and ridiculed because he was so young. Titus was sent to Crete, and the people there were known as liars, lazy and glutens. Timothy and Titus knew of tough times. Paul sends these men because things were a mess in these sites and Paul trusted them to get the job done.

 

In our first reading, St. Paul writes to Timothy and tells him he remembers his tears. Paul adds words of great courage when he says, “Timothy, I want you to stir into a flame the gift of God that is already in his heart.”

 

In our Gospel, we hear about tough times as a man labors all day scattering seed all over his land and when he is tired he sleeps at night and the seeds sprouts and grows. The man does not know how it grows, it just grows.

 

My friends in Christ if we are facing tough times, thank Jesus, because our God is here to help us and we do not know how he will help us. God promises us that he will see us through tough times. Our Eucharist is here to remind us of that fact.

 

Carry the light of Christ!

Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Conversion of St. Paul

Acts 9:1-22

Mark 16: 15-18

 

 

There are three things at a baptism that are done to symbolize the person’s new life in Christ. Can you tell me what the three parts are? 1.) There is the pouring of water over the person’s head. 2.) There is the putting on of the white garment. 3.) There is the giving of a candle which symbolizes the light of Christ to the Godparent. (Light the baptismal candle and ask for someone to hold it.)

 

In our first reading, we heard the story of the conversion of St. Paul. Before he was St. Paul, he was Saul, a Roman soldier who disliked all Christians. Saul went around persecuting and killing anyone who professed to believe in Christ. You could say that Saul was a light destroyer as he tried as hard as he could to distinguish the light. (Blow out the light.)

 

On his way to the city of Damascus to persecute Christians, a bright light shone in the sky, and he fell to the ground, and he heard, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Saul fell to the ground, and when he got up, he could no longer see for he was blind. He needed to be led into the city. Ananias was sent to visit him, and when Ananias arrives, Saul regained his sight. Saul now becomes Paul, and now Paul becomes a believer in Christ, and he becomes not a distinguisher of the light but a bearer of the light and a follower of Jesus Christ. (Re-light the candle.)

 

Today we need to have the light of Christ burning within us, even on this cloudy day. Jesus tells his disciples, “Go into the whole world and be the light of Christ.”

 

We come to Mass today to be renewed in Christ to keep our light burning brightly. I leave you with one thought, “How can we be the light of Christ today?”

 

 

Do we not understand?

 

Wednesday of the Third week

of Ordinary Time

St. Francis de Sales

II Samuel 7: 4-17

Mark 4:1- 20

 

What do we not understand?

 

In our first reading, King David and the prophet Nathan have plans to build a beautiful temple for God. God comes to them and says, “Do you not understand that I have other plans?”

 

What do we not understand about the parable of the “Sower and the seeds?” What we do understand is that God is the sower and we are one of the four types of soil. We have been told this for so long we believe it, but parables have multiple understandings, and today I want to present a new understanding.

 

Do we understand ourselves as the sower? I say this because all our lives we are sowing seeds. We sow seeds of love, peace, hope, joy, forgiveness, mercy and the list goes on and on. Has someone ever come to you and said, “I remember when you said or did, and it was just what I needed at the time. This is evidence that we a sower.

 

Do we not understand the role of the sower is to sow seeds that does not change? The only thing that changes in the parable is the soil. The role of the sower is to throw the seed in abundance on all the types of soil; the sower is not to discriminate on where the seeds are thrown.

 

Do we not understand that the sower is not concerned about the harvest, this is not their role? The role of the sower is only to sow enough seeds.

 

Do we not understand that the sower is not concerned about running out of seeds, there will always be enough seeds!

 

Do we not understand that we are the sower and our role is just to sow the seeds?

 

What is unfinished in our life?

 

Tuesday of the Third week of Ordinary Time

II Samuel 6:12-15, 17-19

Mark 3:31- 35

 

Last night I attended the “Mass for the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.” I am really glad I did attend, the liturgy was wonderful, the homily was outstanding, and the three people who spoke at the end each gave heroic speeches about the sanctity of life. I attended because I felt I had put on hold somethings in my spiritual life that I needed to get going again and this was one of those areas. I have not gone on the March for Life, and I have never stood outside of an abortion clinic. There has always been something deep within me pushing me to do something because it is unfinished business and this issue needs me to stand up and do something.

 

In our first reading, since we last heard about David last Friday, he is now the king, he has captured the city of Jerusalem from the Jebusites, and King David has the vision to make the city of Jerusalem the religious capital of the world. To do this, he has to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. The first time that King David tried to bring the Ark to Jerusalem it began to tip over, and a man named Uzzah reached out his hand to steady it, and God struck him down dead. This caused everyone great fear, so the procession stopped, and the ark was put in the home of Obededom. After three months King David knew this was unfinished business, so he went and got the Ark and brought it to Jerusalem and all along the way he danced with great abandonment.

 

In our Gospel, there is unfinished business as Jesus redefines what family means. The understanding Jesus wants for us to have is it is no longer about being related by blood, but by a mission to follow him. Jesus redefines family to be anyone who does the will of my father. 

 

As we gather is there anything in our lives that we have put on hold and now need to get going again? God will help us complete what he wants to be done in our lives because he is a God that finishes things! Let is complete what God has begun.

 

 

Come follow me!

 

Third Sunday Ordinary Time

Jonah 3:1-5, 10

I Corinthians 7:29-31

Mark 1:14-20

 

I am wondering if your life is a bit like mine where we have our daily routines and our week has a rhythm to it. My week sort of goes like this, Monday is always about doing things in slow motion. Tuesday is a day to hit the ground running with meetings all day, and in the evening. Wednesday is meetings in morning and reading in the afternoon. Thursday is more of the same and Friday is All School Mass which is always something to look forward to, and I try and take fewer appointments so I can spend more time reflecting on the weekend. Saturday is pray, pray, and pray and the afternoon is pedal to the metal with confessions and Mass. Sunday is my foot is on the gas, and it is full throttle. Now maybe you do not have the same schedule as I do but our lives to follow a routine. Each day in our ordinary lives we need to answer God asking us, “Come follow me?” How do we respond when Jesus calls us by name during our ordinary lives?

 

The book of Jonah is an interesting read because Jonah is just an ordinary guy, he is not a prophet, and he is just going about his daily life when God calls him. The first time God calls Jonah to follow him, God tells him to go to Nineveh which is east of where he is, and Jonah goes west to Tarshish. Jonah runs away from God, he eventually spends three days in the belly of a whale, and as Jonah 2:10 says, ‘he gets spewed out’ but by what end? God tells him to go to Nineveh a second time and this time he goes, but when the Ninevites repent and to the Lord God Jonah gets angry. Jonah is what we do not want to be, which is to hear God calling us by name from our ordinary lives and tell God “no” I do not want to do what you want me to do!

 

In our Gospel, the first disciples were just going about their ordinary jobs of fishing; they were casting their nets, pulling them in, and casting the net again. Simon, Andrew, James, and John are not looking for a career change, Jesus shows up and says, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men,” and they all abandoned their nets and followed Jesus. What is interesting is Jesus does not give them something new, he takes the skills they have to get fish and transforms it to catch people with the Good News.

 

What happens to me most of the time when in my ordinary life, I hear Jesus calling me to follow him, I respond, “Ok, where are we going? What am I going to be doing? How long will I be away?” The Good News of Jesus Christ is he does come to us in our ordinary lives, he takes what we have and transforms to his mission. We may have to leave some things behind, but we must follow Jesus where ever he leads us. In this Eucharist how will we respond and how will we be changed in Christ?

It is not are we qualified, but to know we are callified to be a disciple of Jesus Christ!

 

Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

I Samuel 24:3-21

Mark 3:13-19

 

Who will share with me, when was the last time you were called to be part of a great event with other people? Ex. School, sports, or outside activity.

 

In our Gospel Jesus is having large crowds following him as he travels around preaching, teaching and healing people. As Jesus goes up a mountain, he stops surveys the crowd and chooses some from among the crowds to become part of a very select group of people that he calls apostles. Stop here and pick a few kids by name.

 

What is important is Jesus does the choosing, none of those chosen respond, “I am not worthy, you have the wrong person. I am not able to help you because I do not want to do this kind of work?” All those chosen respond wholeheartedly to being called apostles. The name apostle means “to be sent.”

 

The other thing that is amazing to me is Jesus gives the apostles the same power to teach and to heal as that he has been given by his Father. Jesus did not have to do this, he could have only given them some power, but he gives them all the power they will need.

 

As we gather we need to know that God is calling each of us by name to the greatest event of all time which is the building up the kingdom of God here on earth. Jesus is giving to us the same power he gave the apostles to teach and to heal. All we have to do is respond to this call, and he will do the rest.

 

Are we willing to accept this call to be apostles of Jesus Christ? Who will accept this challenge? We now need to give evidence of this in our lives this day.