Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Third Sunday of Ordinary Time
January 21, 2018
Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 25; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20

Today we have two stories of quick and complete conversions that serve as a model for the way we are to respond to God’s invitations. The Ninevites, who heeded the caution raised by the prophet Jonah, surprisingly repent from their ways and return to a life with God at the center. The people declared their faith in God and were spared the evil that Jonah proclaimed.

In the Gospel, two sets of brothers upon meeting Jesus immediately leave their prosperous fishing enterprises to follow him. The Evangelist Mark wants to portray that their initial response to Jesus was as through and complete as the Ninevites. They had to leave behind their old ways to join the new society that Jesus was forming. Andrew and Peter abandon their nets, showing their willingness to go all in for the life Jesus promises them. James and John leave their father and his employees and walk away from their society’s familiar structures to join the new family that Jesus is creating. They are leaving a great deal behind, but Jesus calls them to a new place in the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Kingdom of God is the object of the preaching of Jesus. For him, it is the ideal community where God is the head and the people live in a manner that God desires for them. It is a community that is open to all types of people and centers around believing in Jesus as the unique revealer of God, but it involves a rejection of the belief system they held previously. Everyone in this new community is to be treated with mercy and equality, and God will rule over them as a benevolent parent who will guide each person along the path of truth. The psalmist reinforces this providence when he writes, “Guide me in your truth and teach me.”

Jesus preaches that the Kingdom of God is in its fullness right now, which means we are to respond immediately. The Ninevites repented upon hearing Jonah’s remarks, and the fishermen’s nets were widened to include men and women from many nations, just because they said “yes” to God’s plan. We are much better off if we can say “Yes” without hesitation or concern for the consequences, but it is so hard to trust the future unknowns. Sometimes we are efficient planners and we cannot take on any more activities.

In my years of priesthood, I see that people want to believe. They want to learn God’s will and to trust it when it is offered. They want to know for certain how God speaks to them. They want to know that is it not just their own imaginary voice, but God’s authentic voice. Some considerations keep them away from God or from the church, and many realize that in the long run those concerns are insufficient reasons, but sometimes we are stuck in our lives just fishing or mending our nets. How do you need to pull away from this world’s ways so you can live more fully in God’s world? Do you want to train your ear to believe fully in our God’s call for you? For the moment, don’t worry about how. Just say “yes” and let your imagination engage with what that will look like. Just say to God, “I want more. I want more now.”

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (2 Samuel 5) When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron, King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD, and they anointed him king of Israel. David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty years.
Tuesday: (2 Samuel 6) The ark of the LORD was brought in and set in its place within the tent David had pitched for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
Wednesday: (2 Samuel 7) That night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said: "Go, tell my servant David, 'Thus says the LORD: Should you build me a house to dwell in?
Thursday: (Acts 22) Paul addressed the people in these words: "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel, I was educated strictly in our ancestral law and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
Friday (2 Timothy 1) For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
Saturday (2 Samuel 12) The LORD sent Nathan to David, and when he came to him, Nathan said: "Judge this case for me! Then Nathan said to David: "You are the man! Thus, says the LORD God of Israel: 'The sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.'

Monday: (Mark 3) The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "By the prince of demons he drives out demons."
Tuesday: (Mark 3) The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house. Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
Wednesday (Mark 4) And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, "Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
Thursday (Mark 3) Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Friday (Mark 4) “To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, it is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
Saturday (Mark 4) "Let us cross to the other side." Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"

Saints of the Week

January 21: Agnes, martyr (d. 305), is one of the early Roman martyrs. Little is known about her but she died around age 12 during a persecution. Because of her names connection with a lamb, her iconography depicts her holding a lamb to remind us of her sacrifice and innocence.

January 23: Marianne Cope (1838-1918), was a German-born woman who settled with her family in New York. She entered the Franciscans and worked in the school systems as a teacher and principal and she helped to establish the first two Catholic hospitals. She went to Honolulu, then Molokai, to aid those with leprosy.

January 24: Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor (1567-1622), practiced both civil and canon law before entering religious life. He became bishop of Geneva in 1602 and was prominent in the Catholic Reformation. He reorganized his diocese, set up a seminary, overhauled religious education, and found several schools. With Jane Frances de Chantal, he founded the Order of the Visitation of Mary.

January 25: The Conversion of Paul, the Apostle, was a pivotal point in the life of the early church. Scripture contains three accounts of his call and the change of behavior and attitudes that followed. Paul's story is worth knowing as it took him 14 years of prayer and study to find meaning in what happened to him on the road to Damascus.

January 26: Timothy and Titus, bishops (1st century), were disciples of Paul who later became what we know of as bishops. Timothy watched over the people of Ephesus and Titus looked after Crete. Both men worked with Paul and became a community leader. Timothy was martyred while Titus died of old age.

January 27: Angela Merici (1474-1540), was the founder of the Ursuline nuns. Relatives raised her when her parents died when she was 10. As an adult, she tended to the needs of the poor and with some friends, she taught young girls at their home. These friends joined an association that later became a religious order. Ursula was the patron of medieval universities.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jan 21, 1764. Christophe de Beaumont, Archbishop of Paris, wrote a pastoral defending the Jesuits against the attacks of Parliament. It was ordered to be burned by the public executioner.
·      Jan 22, 1561. Pius IV abrogated the decree of Paul II and kept the life term of Father General.
·      Jan 23, 1789. John Carroll gained the deed of land for the site that was to become Georgetown University.
·      Jan 24, 1645. Fr. Henry Morse was led as a prisoner from Durham to Newgate, London. On hearing his execution was fixed for February 1, he exclaimed: "Welcome ropes, hurdles, gibbets, knives, butchery of an infamous death! Welcome for the love of Jesus, my Savior."
·      Jan 25, 1707. Cardinal Tournon, Apostolic Visitor of the missions in China, forbade the use of the words 'Tien' or 'Xant' for God and ordered the discontinuance by the Christians of the Chinese Rites.
·      Jan 26, 1611. The first Jesuit missionaries sailed from Europe for New France (Canada).

·      Jan 27, 1870. The Austrian government endeavored to suppress the annual grant of 8,000 florins to the theological faculty of Innsbruck and to drive the Jesuit professors from the university, because of their support of the Papal Syllabus.