Jan.31, 2016: 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time C
Click to hear Audio Homily
Often times in homilies, we priests and deacons hold up as examples saintly men and women who demonstrate heroic virtues, particularly those virtues mentioned in our Second Reading--patience, kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, and self-sacrifice involved in truly loving someone. We priests in Louisiana like to mention frequently in homilies two persons who may one day be officially canonized by the Church. Those two persons are Boudreaux and his wife Marie.
One Sunday after mass Boudreaux and Marie had lunch at a cafe in Donaldsonville. They ended their meal in a heated argument over how much tip to leave the server. Boudreaux and Marie remained mad at each other and drove several miles down the road toward Pierre Part without saying a word. Neither one was going to give in to the other and admit that they might have been wrong. As they passed a pasture with a bunch of mules and pigs standing around, Marie sarcastically asked Boudreaux, "Are those relatives of yours?"
Boudreaux answered, "Yep, that's my in-laws."
We may laugh at this couple, but sometimes that’s exactly what happens in our own relationships. We are too short on fuse with little control of our sharp or salty tongues. Some people think that it’s too old fashioned to literally live out the definition of love as described by St. Paul in 1 Corinthian Chapter 13. Many of us know that scripture, “Love is patient, love is kind…” but how many of us consciously put it into practice? One elderly couple was asked how they managed to stay married for 65 years, and the wife answered, “We were born in a time when if something was broke, you fixed it...not throw it away.”
What that elderly wife said challenged me and made me uncomfortable. I know that sometimes I have that kind of throw-away attitude toward values, things, and people. Her words of wisdom made me look at my own attitudes that are sometimes selfish, prideful, and self-absorbed. Patient suffering and enduring with joy are difficult virtues to practice when the world teaches us to demand things to go our way and expect problems to be solved by microwave-like speed and efficiency. How many of us get impatient here in Donaldsonville with traffic even though there are only three stop lights in town? The people in the synagogue in today’s Gospel lost their cool with Jesus because he challenged their narrow mindedness and lack of belief and trust in him. Jesus begins to perform miracles in other towns. Yet, Jesus has not done miracles in his hometown Nazareth and the people want to know why. When He tells them the truth—that they do not believe in Him—then they become enraged and try to kill Him.
How do we react to someone who challenges us--rightfully or wrongfully? Remember that this challenge often comes from someone who loves us--a family member, a close friend, or a co-worker. When we hear words that are pleasing to us, we accept them, but when they disturb our consciences we might well dismiss them as worthless. Or worse, we give them silent treatment or become distant by resentment. How do you reconcile what you heard with what you are living right now? How do we respond, for example, to someone challenging us about racism or poverty in our town? How about when the rules of the church conflict with what we desire? What tendencies that create a throw-away attitude do we need to change? What is the Lord asking of us through today’s readings?
Ash Wednesday is only a week and a half away, so let us prayerfully consider what we will focus on during this Lent. We do not want to let Lent sneak up on us and not have a plan for our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving . During Lent, our parishes are offering several opportunities for us to grow deeper in our love for our Lord and His mission.
This coming Tuesday evening, we will begin our Divine Mercy Novena mass and chaplet.
Beginning on Friday, February 12, we will begin an adult formation class called “The One Thing is Three.” The class will be held at noon at the Ascension activity center.
On Friday’s, the Way of the Cross with Confessions will begin at 6PM at St. Francis Church followed by a Lenten Lite Meal.
Next weekend, a parish-wide meditation book, “Rediscover Jesus” by Matthew Kelly, will be distributed.
Today’s Gospel is about faith and trust in Jesus; what do we need to change so that we trust in Jesus and not in ourselves.
-Fr. Paul Yi