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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Mystery of God Proclaimed: The Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

                                   The Mystery of God Proclaimed:

The Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

February 5, 2023

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Isaiah 58:7-10; Psalm 112; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Matthew 5:13-16


          Isaiah gives us Catholic social teaching in its most condensed form. There is no controversy that every person of faith ought to perform these acts of mercy two one's neighbor. Our care for one another is simply stated; so why is it such a challenge to care for one another today? We know that acting rightly to our neighbors pleases God, and yet we layer it with our own experiences of dealing with those who are less fortunate.


          The gospel is a continuation of the sermon on the mount in which Jesus calls his disciples to a higher standard of moral life. One who knows Jesus is compelled to act with great social justice and is set apart from the rest of society just like a city on the hill stands tall for all to see. Saint Paul tells us that we are to proclaim the mystery of God through our actions as a demonstration of Spirit and power. Only then are we convincing because people can see, not us, but the power of God in action through us.


          We ought not underestimate the power of our good works or kind words. Just recently I've had several people contact me about something I did or said many years ago that stayed with them and they felt comfortable to reach out once again. I hadn't thought what I said was especially meaningful, but the words stayed with these people for many years. It revealed to me the incredible power of building up one another and always saying what is kind and right. It showed me that the power of God was at work at times when I hadn't thought possible. I think the same has happened in your lives time and again and it takes you by surprise. We never know how meaningful we are to another person because we are not good at expressing ourselves so intimately.


          The point is each of us is very meaningful to someone but we don't know who or how and so we must keep trying. When we are tempted to act badly or say something negative, perhaps we should pause and realize someone is paying attention to our actions and we can influence other people for the good. We positively affect many more people and then we realize. It shows us also that many people notice only our good and not our failings, so it behooves us to see ourselves in a better light than we do. Treating someone kindly will reverberate in the long term and our misgivings will only be shortly remembered. This ought to give us hope. It gives us a framework for a world filled with goodwill and goodness. It helps us to join in this mystery of God where our actions proclaim God's power and spirit to act rightly, to live justly, and to walk humbly with our God.



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



Scripture for Daily Mass


First Reading: 

Monday: (Genesis 1) In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.


Tuesday: (Genesis 1) Then God said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground."


Wednesday: (Genesis 2) Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.


Thursday: (Genesis 2) So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man.


Friday (Genesis 3) The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.


Saturday (Genesis 3) The LORD God called to Adam and asked him, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself."



Monday: (Mark 6) Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.


Tuesday: (Mark 7) For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace, they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.


Wednesday (Mark 7) From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.


Thursday (Mark 7) Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.


Friday (Mark 7) And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man's ears and, spitting, touched his tongue.


Saturday (Mark 8) My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.


Saints of the Week


February 5: Agatha, martyr, (d. 251), died in Sicily during the Diocletian persecution after she refused to give up her faith when sent to a brothel for punishment. She was subsequently tortured. Sicilians believe her intercession stopped Mount Etna from erupting the year after her burial. She has been sought as a protector against fire and in mentioned in the First Eucharistic prayer. 


February 6: Paul Miki and Companions, martyrs (d. 1597), were martyred in Nagasaki, Japan for being Christians. Miki was a Jesuit brother and a native Japanese who was killed alongside 25 clergy, religious, and laypeople. They were suspended on crosses and killed by spears thrust into their hearts. Remnants of the Christian community continued through baptism without any priestly leadership. It was discovered when Japan was reopened in 1865.


February 8: Jerome Emiliani (1481-1537), was a Venetian soldier who experienced a call to be a priest during this imprisonment as a captor. He devoted his work to the education of orphans, abandoned children, the poor and hungry. He founded an order to help in his work, but he died during a plague while caring for the sick. 


February 8: Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) was a Sudanese who was sold as a slave to the Italian Consul, who treated her with kindness. She was baptized in Italy and took the name Josephine. Bakhita means fortunate. She was granted freedom according to Italian law and joined the Canossian Daughters of Charity where she lived simply as a cook, seamstress, and doorkeeper. She was known for her gentleness and compassion.


February 10: Scholastica (480-543) was the twin sister of Benedict, founder of Western monasticism. She is the patroness of Benedictine nuns. She was buried in her brother's tomb; they died relatively close to one another. 


February 11: Our Lady of Lourdes is remembered because between February 11 and July 16, 1858, Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in a cave near Lourdes, France eighteen times. The site remains one of the largest pilgrim destinations. Many find healing in the waters of the grotto during the spring.


This Week in Jesuit History


  • February 5, 1833. The first provincial of Maryland, Fr. William McSherry, was appointed. 
  • February 6, 1612. The death of Christopher Clavius, one of the greatest mathematicians and scientists of the Society. 
  • February 7, 1878. At Rome, Pius IX died. He was sincerely devoted to the Society; when one of the cardinals expressed surprise that he could be so attached to an order against which even high ecclesiastics brought serious charges, his reply was: "You have to be pope to know the worth of the Society." 
  • February 8, 1885. In Chicago, Fr. Isidore Bourdreaux, master of novices at Florissant, Missouri, from 1857 to 1870, died. He was the first scholastic novice to enter the Society from any of the colleges in Missouri. 
  • February 9, 1621. Cardinal Ludovisi was elected Pope Gregory XV. He was responsible for the canonization of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier. 
  • February 10, 1773. The rector of Florence informed the general, Fr. Ricci, that a copy of the proposed Brief of Suppression had been sent to the Emperor of Austria. The general refused to believe that the Society would be suppressed. 
  • February 11, 1563. At the Council of Trent, Fr. James Laynez, the Pope's theologian, made such an impression on the cardinal president by his learning and eloquence, that cardinal decided at once to open a Jesuit College in Mantua, his Episcopal see.

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