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Homilies by Father Jaimon Dominic » Notes » Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

    Posted by Mary Wilson February 3, 2019 - Category: Spirituality - 480 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #evangelize  #don't go alone 


    Brinsley Mc Namara wrote a classic story called The Valley of the Squinting Windows. It is a great read, and is available today, many decades later. He came from a very rural area of Ireland, and was well known, because his father was a teacher in the local school. His story was such that everybody in the village recognized themselves among the characters of the story. This led to public outrage in his hometown, while the rest of the country was passionately reading the book! The book was burned in public, his family had to leave town, and, to this day, his name still evokes strong reactions among many of the people of that town. What he wrote was too close to the bone. If he had written a book about the people of some other town, he probably would have been hailed as the local literary hero. To this day none of his descendants would dare return to their roots in that town. They did, in a symbolic way, take him outside the town, and threw him over a cliff. This is what happened to Jesus too in today’s gospel.

    Jesus was coming home soon after his baptism where the Holy Spirit descended on him and he was publicly declared to be the Son of God. Jesus’ townspeople received him at first with amazement and praise. But “when Jesus told them the truth that God has no favorites but relates to all humankind by the same standards, they turned against him in disappointment and ran him out of town. They were angered mainly because Jesus was telling his townspeople of Nazareth the truth of the universality of God’s grace and salvation. Jews believed that Salvation, for them, is an exclusive thing and only for them. But Jesus said the true God is equally available to all humanity — so long as they approach God with faith and trust. To illustrate his points Jesus cites the cases of the prophets Elijah and Elisha who performed great miracles for people who were outside the confines of the “chosen” people.

    Jesus anticipated the people’s disappointment with him because he understood himself to be engaged in the prophetic ministry. In biblical terms, a prophet is not simply someone who foretells the future. A prophet, essentially, is someone who speaks for God, God’s own spokesperson. The prophet’s signature tune is, “Thus says the Lord….” The prophet focuses primarily on clearly expressing the word of God. Whether this word is happily received by the people or not is not the prophet’s primary concern. Prophets tell the bitter truth and this is what gets them into trouble. The truth that Jesus was telling his townspeople was the universality of God’s grace. 

    We Catholics cannot remain idle in a self-satisfied state of contentment which only wants to do the minimum to get by.  Don’t ever think that  you go to Mass on Sundays and you're somehow assured of salvation.  Such presumption is a recipe for disaster.  The Holy Father, John Paul II, reminds us in Redemptoris Missio, his encyclical on evangelization, that even if we are keeping the commandments and living a holy life, but aren't taking anyone with us to heaven, we ought not to be so sure that we'll make it to heaven.  We can't just have a private faith that we don't share with anyone - we have an obligation and a sacred duty to get the Good News out there - in the office, in the classroom, in the grocery line, in the parking lot.

    "Keeping the peace" is not always the most prudent course.  That's because peace is not merely the absence of conflict - true peace is only realized when justice is at hand - when persons live in the truth.  Some who hesitate on their responsibility to promote the truth say things like, "Well, who am I to say anything - I'm a sinner too."  Or "Preaching is the role of priests - I'm just an ordinary person."  Interestingly, the Second Vatican Council reminds us that by our baptism, each of us is called to evangelize.  It is not only the role of priests, but also the role of all the baptized.  Can you imagine if St. Paul had taken the attitude, "Who am I to preach because I'm a sinner too?"  Where would we be today?  St. Paul killed Christians before his conversion but that didn't stop him from embracing his prophetic vocation.

    In our soil, in the name of broaden reproductive rights for women, the radical expansion of abortion on demand through birth is not a tragedy to be mourned but a victory to be celebrated. Our television and movie businesses, which are supported by the money paid by millions of Americans and many large corporate sponsors, are aiding pornographic material that is poisoning our children and our society. Our society tells adults and youngsters that immoral ***, drugs, gambling and alcohol are legitimate pleasures for modern, liberated people.

    So dear friends, our country needs to hear God’s Truth from Spirit-filled Christians with the prophetic courage of their convictions. So we must never remain silent in the face of evil for fear of being thought "politically incorrect." Jesus was not against conflict if it promoted truth. If we share in the mission of Jesus, then we must inevitably share in His cross.“Religion without truth is merely superstition.”
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