Homily January 22, 2017, the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

3sun2In the gospel today, Jesus learns John the Baptist has been imprisoned and goes from Nazareth to Capernaum in Galilee to live. From now on he starts to preach, “Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” With John in prison and with him soon to be executed, his mission was finished and Jesus began his. But, unlike John, who was the stark figure living in the wilderness and luring crowds out to him, Jesus was in Capernaum and we see he started by looking for some followers, some men like-minded and ready to band together3sun1. This was not an unusual thing in that place or time as Mediterranean culture is family and relationship oriented. What stood out most likely was the power and magnetism of Jesus to attract followers. Ultimately, his message and his power and healing made him to become known with crowds coming to see him.
But lets step aside a moment and think, what drew the apostles to him and what kept that bond. It is clear that it was not a one time permanent thing, as we know that along the way they had doubts and failings in their relationship, even to running away and denying knowing Jesus. Even Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit led to complete and total uniformity and agreement among them. With their beliefs, backgrounds, their prejudices, their own relationship with Jesus, they had to learn to get along even when Christ was with them, and most importantly when He was gone. Those who have followed the Apostles have the same flaws and problems as the Apostles had. One thing has kept the church going, and Paul
alludes to it in the second reading. What he says is we belong to Christ. We are not disciples of anyone else, we belong to him. Are we reformers or traditionalists, or conservative or liberal, or in one school or another, and were we baptized into any of them?
Each of us has experienced God as he came into our lives. Our relationship is personal as is any other relationship w3sun4e have. That relationship with God is centered on Jesus and how we relate to him. We hear his call and message and work to live it out as best we can. Like the Apostles we need to interact and work it out by trial and error. Error yes, because no one is perfect and we all fall short of perfection, some more, some less. The Apostles were not unlike us, although probably less educated than us. They were simple men, but then centered on Jesus. His mercy and love did the rest and will for us also.

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