Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jan. 24, 2016: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time C

Jan. 24, 2016: 3rd Sunday Ordinary C

Click to hear Audio Homily
Do you like smoothies like I do? I’ve told you before that I like to pour almond milk, a banana, bunches of spinach and kale in a blender and drink it. It doesn’t sound too appetizing, does it? What does faith and banana smoothie have in common? Pope Francis said, “Please, do not put your faith in Jesus Christ in a blender. You can have orange smoothies, apple smoothies, banana smoothies, but please, do not gulp down a ‘faith-shake.’ Faith is a whole; you can’t mix it up in a blender.” Does your faith sometimes feel like drinking a smoothie, where you have a vague taste of a fruit, but not really? We may believe in the notion of the Good News of Jesus Christ, but not quite understand it and know how to fulfill it.

The fulfillment of the Gospel in our lives depends on our hearing it attentively, listening to it lovingly, and responding to it faithfully. We may be a little puzzled by what Jesus proclaimed in the synagogue, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord...Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus announced that he is the fulfillment of all the scriptures. His presence among men begins the year of grace. From that moment on, the signs of mercy and closeness of God for the poor, the blind and the imprisoned and to all who are in need, will become increasingly evident. The message he proclaimed was not just for those in the synagogue 2,000 years ago but also for us. Even today, Jesus is announcing a time of extraordinary grace from God--to experience His mercy where we are set free and healed from our sins through His Son.

Pope Francis explains it beautifully, “Jesus is the Son of God who came into the world and gave his life to open the floodgates of love to everyone…By coming in our flesh and sharing our joys and pains, our victories and defeats, and enduring the cross, by living everything in love and fidelity to Abba, Jesus testifies to the incredible love that God has for each person, the inestimable value he sees in everyone. Each of us, in turn, is called to adopt Jesus’ way of seeing and choosing in love, to enter into his way of being, thinking and acting.”

As believers how do we proclaim and pass on our faith? We must proclaim our faith through our words and actions. This past Friday, my sister and brother-in-law texted me photos of their children all bundled up in the cold weather. As you heard from the news, the East Coast was hit by an incredible snow storm. My 9-year-old niece Therese was standing on the snow-covered steps of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington DC holding up a sign that read, “Why We March: To tell the truth about what it means to be human.”  My 7-year-old nephew was holding a sign that read, “I am the Pro-Life Generation.” And my 5-year-old nephew was just smiling for the camera. They participated in the March for Life held in Washington DC. My niece and nephews probably do not understand the reason for the march or the full meaning of the signs, but their mom and dad are teaching them that it is important to live and preach their faith by the way they live their lives. It is not enough to know the faith; a lighted lamp must not be hidden, it must be used to light the path of others. Pope Francis reminds us that this is the Year of Mercy, and we are to be the instrument of God’s mercy. Let us implore the Heavenly Father, as did St. Francis, to help us to become more Christ-like:  “Lord, make me a channel of your peace.”

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred let me bring your love
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord
And where there is doubt true faith in You

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness only light
And where there's sadness ever joy

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
It is in giving to all man that we receive
And in dying that we are born to eternal life

-Fr. Paul Yi