4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
The Gospel this weekend is this:
Jesus said to them, "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing." 22 And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, "Isn't this the son of Joseph?" 23 He said to them, "Surely you will quote me this proverb, 'Physician, cure yourself,' and say, 'Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done inCapernaum.'" 24 And he said, "Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. 25 Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. 26 It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the landof Sidon. 27 Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." 28 When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. 29 They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. 30 But he passed through the midst of them and went away.
The first reading is this:
Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
The word of the LORD came to me thus: 5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you…
17 But gird your loins; stand up and tell them all that I command you. Be not crushed on their account, as though I would leave you crushed before them; 18 For it is I this day who have made you a fortified city, A pillar of iron, a wall of brass, against the whole land: Against Judah's kings and princes, against its priests and people. 19 They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.
The second reading is this:
1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way. 13:1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated,
5 it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, 6 it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. 9 For we know partially and we prophesy partially, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. 12 At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. 13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
This Sunday is about God's call to love all people gently and to spread his Word, and to do so free of public opinions... even if people in some way oppose us.
Jesus applies a passage from the Old Testament to himself in the synagogue (it's actually not from Isaiah but from Elijah and Elisha). Jesus is 'kicked out'! He passes through the angry crowd and goes away, but that's speaking of more than a physical escape. It's speaking of the fact that people's opposition to the faith won't stop God from trying and trying and trying again. What if He wants to try using your life? Are you really free? Jeremiah describes such freedom as being like a pillar of iron! As we said at primary school: "Sticks and stones may break my bones but 'names' will never hurt me"!
It's relevant that the name prophet refers to one who passes on what he or she received as opposed to one who makes personal predictions.
This is combined with St Paul's praise of the job of loving (hymn to love - 1 Cor 13). Then the Gospel has Jesus praising the fact that Elisha helped the widow of Sidon and Elisha cured the leper of Syria, and that emphasizes the fact that the job of loving should be without any barriers or discrimination.
Being free of what the world expects of you links well with the call to love as a preacher, because it's only when a preacher has a really loving heart, that he's free of people's opinions, and only then can he preach well. That's something for which we all have to struggle! It refers to preaching in public, or to chatting with friends over a cup of coffee. As St Paul says today, we want to avoid being like a resounding gong or a clashing symbol! (1 Cor 13:1).
An important point for me is to keep reminding myself of how tremendously fortunate I have been. What moves us to be missionaries is mostly gratitude! Our mission should be mainly like a song of thanks! In spite of the M.S. I feel very lucky, for example for having loads of air to breathe, and two lungs that actually work! And that's a miniscule fraction of my good luck. God has invited me to a joy that's eternal! People do have difficult problems in life, but no-one should get depressed. It's all just a matter of patience, because we know that the future must be fantastic. Jesus went through major trouble and pain and disgrace in order to convince us. I'm convinced. 'Multiple sclerosis' doesn't stop that! Sunday is a day for 'Eucharist', which means 'thanksgiving', but that's not just on Sundays, it's everyday. And it should really be every minute of every day! And if challenges come our way from God, such as the call to love everybody always, even if it means following Jesus in putting up with the rejection of one's own people, then so be it!
In case evangelization seems strange to you, think about this: if your country were to win the world cup and you meet a friend in the street who hasn't heard, will you start talking to him about the weather? But much more than about something like sport, people need to hear about the Good News of Christ. For example, the suicide rate in Irish 15 to 25 year old males multiplied by 4 between 1980 and 2000! Also, you know that there's plenty of evil in our world, but that's not because of 'bad' people, but because of people who just don't know much. Christ needs our help to get the message across. It's like a foreigner needs a translater. Francis Xavier travelled all the way to Japan in the sixteenth century, but he needed Brother Lorenzo with him to translate. Today Christ needs you and I to get his message across.
Think of the parable of 'the prodigal son' (Lk 15), in verse 22, when the son made it home, the Father had sandals put on his feet. It makes me think of a Father who wants his son to travel out and help other children to make it home. I mention that call because I'm a Verbum Dei Missionary, or perhaps just because I'm a child of God - as you are!
In many homes I ask myself where have they got Jesus hidden? Perhaps the tomb of Jesus after Calvary is symbolic of many places in our world today! In our missionary order, our job isn't simply to preach, but to transmit the Good News of Christ in whatever way that we can - chatting - singing - even sending e-mails! This also makes me remember when the 'cardiac bleep' went off in hospital. The emergency team of doctors had to drop all and run to where there was someone in cardiac arrest... and they don't stop to look at a movie on the way! We Christians should begin to hear the call of the heart of the mystical body of Christ in 'cardiac arrest' throughout our human family.
As I say in my heart "I love you Lord", I feel as if God replies "And do you love the mission?". Hopefully we want to love both. And it's not just a matter of speaking ‘out loud’. To quote St Charles Borromeo: "Make sure that your life and conduct are sermons in themselves". With my MS I can't preach as before but hopefully my life and conduct can get some message across! In our missionary order, our job isn't simply to preach, but to transmit the Good News of Christ in whatever way that we can - chatting - singing - even sending e-mails! What a joy it will be after we die, to hear the words of Christ in Mt 25 - 'When I was in trouble, you cared for me.Now enter into the house of my Father'!
4º Domingo: Jer 1:4-5, 17-19. 1°Cor 12:31-13:13. Lc 4:21-30.
Este Domingo es sobre la llamada de Dios de amar bien a su gente y de difundir su Palabra y como tal papel necesita que uno este libre de la opinión pública… aún si de algunas formas la gente nos opone.
Jesús aplica un pasaje del Antiguo Testamento a sí mismo en la sinagoga (es de Elías y Eliseo - ¡no de Isaías!) ¡y le echan! Él evita la muchedumbre enfadado y se va, pero aquello habla de más qué de una escapada física. Nos habla de cómo la oposición del pueblo a la fe no impedirá que Dios intente una y otra y otra vez. ¿Y si quiere usar tu vida? ¿Eres un Hijo de Dios realmente libre? ¡Jeremías describe tal libertad el ser como pilar de hierro! Como nos enseñaron en la escuela: ¡"Los golpes pueden doler pero apodos nunca"!
Es relevante que el nombre ‘profeta’ refiere a una peresona que passa lo que ha recibido, y no una que profetiza por su cuenta.
Esto es combinado con 'el himno al amor' de Pablo (1Cor 13). Van bien juntos para mi, porque es solamente cuando un predicador está amando generosamente, que está libre de la opinión de la gente, y solamente así puede predicar bien. ¡Aquello es un desafío para todos! Es un desafío para la predicación pública, o para el charlar con amigos tomando café. Como dice San Pablo hoy, no queremos ser como campana resonando ni zímbalo ! (1°Cor 13:1)
Es importante para mí estar siempre recordando la suerte tremenda que he tenido. ¡Una cosa que impulsa al misionero es la gratitud! Nuestra misión debería ser más que nada, como un canto de amor agradecido. Por ejemplo, ¡yo tengo mucho aire para respirar y dos pulmones que funcionan! Y aquello es una fracción minúscula de mi suerte. ¡Y Dios nos ha invitado a un gozo eterno! Algunos tienen problemas fuertes en la vida, pero no hace falta que nadie se deprime. Simplemente hace falta paciencia, porque con la vista en el futuro, vemos algo que tiene que ser fantástico. Jesús pasó por fastidio y dolor para convencernos y me convence a mi. ¡La esclerosis múltiple no lo quita! El Domingo es día de ‘eucaristía’, que significa ‘acción de gracias’, pero no es solamente para el Domingo. Es para cada día. ¡De hecho debería ser para cada minuto de cada día! ¡Y si Dios nos pide amar a todos, aún aguantó el rechazo de nuestra propia gente como lo aguantó Jesús, así sea!
Por si acaso la evangelización te parece rara, piensa en esto: si tu país gana la copa mundial de fútbol y te encuentras con un amigo en la calle que no lo sabe, ¿empezarás la conversación hablando del tiempo? Pero mucho más que un asunto de deporte, importa la Buena Nueva de Cristo. Por ejemplo, el número de suicidios de Irlandeses entre 15 y 25 años de edad multiplicó por 4 entre 1980 y 2000. Sabes que hay mucha maldad en el mundo, pero aquello no es por gente mala tanto como gente ‘ignorante’. Cristo quiere comunicar mucho, pero necesita nuestras voces como un extranjero necesita un traductor para comunicarse, así como Francisco Xavier necesitaba al Hermano Lorenzo en Japón. Hoy, Cristo nos necesita a ti y a mi.
Me ayuda la parábola del Hijo Prodigo (Lc 15). En el versículo 22, cuando volvió a casa, el padre le pusó sandalias en los pies. Me habla de cómo Nuestro Padre quiere que aquel hijo vaya en búsqueda de otros hijos perdidos. Esto suena como hablar misionero, pero lo digo porque soy hijo de Dios – como tú!
En muchos hogares, te preguntas ¿dónde tienen a Jesús enterrado? Quizás la tumba de Jesús después del Calvario simboliza la ausencia de fe en las familias hoy! Pensando en la misión, requerda que en nuestra comunidad misionera nuestra tarea no es simplemente predicar sino transmitir la Buena Nueva de Cristo en la manera que podamos: compartiendo, cantando, aún enviando emails! Recuerdo cuando la “sirena cardiaca” sonaba en el hospital, el equipo de emergencia de médicos tenían que ir corriendo adonde estaba la persona con el ataque cardiaco... y no te paras a mirar la tele en el camino! Nosotros los cristianos deberíamos oir la llamada del corazón del Cuerpo Místico de Cristo en sus ataques cardiacos en toda la familia humana...
Cuando digo en mi corazón “Te amo Señor”, Dios me responde “¿Pero, amas la misión?”. Ojalá amamos a los dos. No es cuestión solamente de predicar con voz alta. Como escribió San Carlos Borromeo: ‘Asegúrate que tu vida y conducta son homilías por sí mismas’. Con mi esclerosis múltiple no puedo predicar como antes pero ¡ojala mi vida y mi conducta comunican algo!
Qué alegría sería oír las palabras de Cristo de Mt 25 cuando muramos: “Cuando estaba en problemas, me cuidaste. Ahora entra en la casa de mi Padre” (Mt 25).
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