Listen to Fr. John’s Homily for Sunday, January 22th


Fr. John’s Reflection for Sunday, January 22th

The 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus’ coming to earth is the time of fulfillment, and he becomes the manifestation of the kingdom of God—which is the manifestation of God’s love and the way love reigns over all of life. To believe the good news is to believe that Jesus came from the Father to reveal the love of the Father for the world.

Also, to believe the good news is to believe that God has a role—a divine plan—in our time and space. God is drawing people and events of life into a divine purpose. God cares for the world and the unraveling of the day is in God’s hands. Continuously God’s love is expressed in our day, for the power of redemption contained within the cross of Christ is alive and at work in our lives.

This does not mean we will all go without having crosses to bear, but it does mean that we have the grace to give ourselves over to the events of life in such a generous manner that will enable us to express deep love and trust.

We want to believe the good news that God is love and that God’s divine plan is being carried out for a purpose, but at times it appears that our God is either not all powerful or our God is not all loving, for there are many things wrong with the world around us and it does not seem to be getting any better.

In fact, the world seems to continue to struggle with the weight of sin, generation after generation. Thus, we think the weight of life is upon us and that we need to hold the uncertainties of life in check by our own power and designs.

Life appears to be heading down a path towards destruction and it will take all our ingenuity and all our strength to stay on a course for good. The feeling that God is not here—while we are—lurks in our hearts and so we feel it is up to us to hold all in a balance for the good, as though we are the saviors of the world.

Certainly there is a truth that God calls us to share in the cross of Christ. Yet, the overall plan is in the hands of God and we walk with trust in this plan. We walk by sharing in this plan with an open mind and heart to bear life as God opens it up to us within the events of our lives. The fullness of time is now because redemption has been won by Christ.

Therefore the love of God is at work in our hearts and in the events of life drawing our hearts and events into the mystery of this love. Am I opening my mind and heart to this active redemption? Am I living as being redeemed or at least on the road to redemption?

The Gospel and the book of Jonah make it sound easy to live out this redemption and to say yes to it. Jesus comes to Simon and Andrew and tells them to follow, tells them to trust in letting go all that they know, to give up their livelihood of fishing and follow, and they do so without effort, without looking back.

James and John were the same. They leave their livelihood and their relationship with their own father as they know it and follow Jesus, and there appears to be no struggle in doing so. Even in the Book of the Prophet Jonah the people of Nineveh believed Jonah and changed their ways without much effort.

How is this possible unless the love of God overwhelms the heart? A heart that experiences the depth of God’s love, and in this love finds redemption for the soul. A heart that is so overwhelmed with gratitude that the person’s disposition towards life is changed and this person begins to live a new life. When we are touched by the love of God and are overwhelmed in his mercy and forgiveness, we willingly give up the old for the new, and follow.

May God’s overwhelming love dwell in our hearts this week so that we know now is the time of fulfillment; the kingdom of God is at hand, and we repent and believe the good news.

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