The homily

20 January 2020 – Monday of week 2 in Ordinary Time

One might ask, "We live in a broken, messy world; how can we be joyful?" Christ answers that question in today's gospel by telling us that He is the new eternal life. He is the Savior of all humankind!

The reading today implies old and new things do not mix well together. The examples Christ gives are, "No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth (new cloth) on an old cloak. …no on pours new wine into old wineskins, the wine will burst the skins." The old ways are difficult to change, yet to follow Christ we are called to move away from our sinful ways and grow closer to Him. When we are in relationship with Christ, we can experience a sense of peace and true joyfulness. We still carry the burden of our brokenness, yet we can know and feel Christ's unconditional love. His life and death are powerful reasons to rejoice.

 

19 January 2020 – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Once, a monk saw a man searching for something on the ground outside his house. He asked the man, "What are you searching?" "I am looking for my key", he said. The monk also joined in the search and after a few minutes he asked the man: "Where exactly did you drop it?" The man answered: "In my house." "Then why are you looking here?" the monk asked. "Oh! There is lighter here than in my house," replied the man.

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18 January 2020 – Saturday of week 1 in Ordinary Time

The alleluia may serve as the title for today’s Gospel: “The Lord Sent Me to Bring Glad Tidings to the Poor.” Mark tells us that Jesus encountered Levi, the Tax Collector, and asked him to come and eat with him. Since the crowd also included scribes who were Pharisees, they characteristically questioned Jesus’ choice of table companions. Why does he eat with Tax Collectors and other sinners? Jesus answered with only a few words, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” He brought glad tidings to the poor. Not only the poor in possessions and power, but to those who are poor in spirit, faith, or in support. He is, in short, inviting all of us to be with him; the glad tidings are for all of us, not only to those who consider themselves to be righteous. It is a lesson that we should reexamine in the context of our present life. Are we, like the Pharisees, too quick to judge, condemn, or reject from our society those who do not agree with us, are not from our culture, or may be seen as sinners? We are all sinners, but Jesus loves us. He has called us to love and to accept each other as he has loved us.

 

16 January 2020 – Thursday of week 1 in Ordinary Time

What is “hardening our hearts” if not a willful softening of our resolution to follow Christ? If we read the Bible carefully, as the author of the letter to the Hebrews had, we will see this theme of hardening and resistance appear over and over again. Apparently human beings are very stubborn when it comes to doing God’s will. It is far easier to sit on the couch and watch TV than to rise before dawn for yet another workout. But rising early is exactly what is required. According to Hebrews, we need to choose that workout daily, because this is what is required of “disciples of Christ.” This ambition is captured in today’s psalm response: “if today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Every day requires a new choice to remain faithful to the gospel.

 

15 January 2020 – Wednesday of week 1 in Ordinary Time

Faced with human need, Jesus’ heart is moved to do what he can to alleviate their suffering. He frees those who are possessed by demons and heals those who are sick, including Peter’s mother-in-law As Paul will much later tell his friends in Ephesus using an otherwise uncorroborated saying of Jesus, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving” [Acts 20:35].

 
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