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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Goal of Unity: The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

                                                          The Goal of Unity

The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

January 22, 2023

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Isaiah 8:23-9:3; Psalm 27; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; Matthew 4:12-23


          The story of the young ministry of Jesus advances following his baptism, and he sets us his base of operations in the coastal town of Capernaum, the land that was once regarded as desolate, the land that is to become the place when God’s light shines upon the people gathered around Jesus. It is from this historically dismissed place where the prophetic words are fulfilled, and Jesus begins his preaching ministry. His mission is to preach: rejoice, the kingdom of God is at hand.


          We see that he calls his first disciples, two sets of brothers, who, like him, have no great formal religious education, for they are people of commercial trade. We know that one’s calling from God is a mystery. Why do some people feel specially called and others do not? Why do some people answer, and others respond in different ways. These are great questions to ponder as we are in the middle of the Week for Christian Unity, a consciousness that was begun from the Second Vatican Council.


          The second reading from Saint Paul to the Corinthians urges unity. We know that we have people in the Roman Catholic Church that align with Pope Francis or they are against him, or they prefer a specific way of living out their faith through their style of being church, and this is where Saint Paul’s words are crucial. We do not belong to one group or another. We are called to be united. Paul says that there are to be no divisions among you, lest the Cross be in vain. Believers are to be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. 


          In the great Council, the bishops realized that Christian churches must come together to acknowledge their common mission and are to find points of agreement rather than to find differences. Christian churches share the same baptism and the same mission – to preach the kingdom of God through Christ. All who are baptized are part of Christ’s church. If we share a common baptism, then we ought to come together more often for worship, dialogue, and communion, because we do not belong to Apollos or Cephas or Paul; we belong to Christ. It is the kingdom of God that we are about.


          This week is one in which we can reflect upon who we are in the larger world. Do we ever think of the church as one made up of Presbyterians, Methodists, Nazarenes, and Holiness churches as close siblings to our Roman Catholic expression of church? If the church are those who are baptized, then the church is possibly much larger than we believe, and Christ is acting in different ways within distinct communities, and this is what we celebrate in this Week of Christian Unity. We are one in Christ. It is his church.



This homily is for the catechetical series on Christ’s presence in our worship.



Scripture for Daily Mass


First Reading: 

Monday: (Hebrews 9) Christ is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.


Tuesday: (Hebrews 10) Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect those who come to worship by the same sacrifices that they offer continually each year.


Wednesday: (Acts 22) “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. I persecuted this Way to death, binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.


Thursday: (2 Timothy 1) I am grateful to God, whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day. I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.


Friday (Hebrews 10) Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated.


Saturday (Hebrews 11) Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.



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) A crowd seated around him told him, "Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you." But he said to them in reply, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"


Wednesday (Mark 16) 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.


Thursday (Mark 4) The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given;  from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.


Friday (Mark 4) This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.


Saturday (Mark 4) 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 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.


January 28: Thomas Aquinas, priest and Doctor (1225-1274), studied in a Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino as a boy. He joined the newly formed Dominicans where he studied in France and Italy. He is a giant scholar. He wrote much on Scripture and theology, including his summation of theology (Summa Theologiae). He wrote several songs for liturgy, such as the Tantum Ergo, Pange Lingua, and Adoro Te Devote.


This Week in Jesuit History


  • January 22, 1561. Pius IV abrogated the decree of Paul II and kept the life term of Father General. 
  • January 23, 1789. John Carroll gained the deed of land for the site that was to become Georgetown University. 
  • January 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." 
  • January 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. 
  • January 26, 1611. The first Jesuit missionaries sailed from Europe for New France (Canada). 
  • January 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. 
  • January 28, 1853. Fr. General John Roothaan, wishing to resign his office, summoned a General Congregation, but died on May 8, before it assembled.

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