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Thursday, July 12, 2012

7-8-2012 Homily - The Messenger and the Message


We have just heard how Our Lord received a terribly cold welcome into his hometown of Nazareth. They are all bent out of shape because they have heard of Jesus doing wonderful signs everywhere else, gaining some worldly fame among the people, and they seem neglected and this fills them with contempt. Because of this, they are unable to hear what Jesus has to say, their faith is weak, and they are unable to receive similar great signs. And Jesus, after doing what little He can, moves on to other towns.

In the first reading we hear a similar story: Ezekiel must preach the Word of the Lord to His People whether they want to hear it or not, so that at least this rebellious lot will know that there was a prophet in their midst. So today, let us remember, and pray for, our Pope, our Bishop Kevin and all bishops and priests, that when they preach they do not shy away from the truth that the Lord wishes to speak through them, because whether it is easy to hear or not, it is truly for our good.

I bet the people of Nazareth and the Jews of Ezekiel's time had the same struggle: they did not want to hear what the Lord had to say. And one of the easiest ways to disregard the message, and something that people still do today, is to throw out the messenger by pointing out their faults. For example, let's look at myself and Father Bill. One easy thing that could be said of Father Terry, and I hear it a lot, is that I am so young! This can be used to mean I don't have enough experience or knowledge of life, etc. Well, don't worry, I agree with that quite a bit! Turning to Father Bill, what could we say? Ah, only too easy to say, especially for me, is that, even if he doesn't look it, he is so old!

What we need to remember is that when someone is speaking the Word of the Lord, The message is not their own. They are sharing God's message to you. We can tell this difference when something turns our heart and reaches our soul. Because people can speak to our ears and minds, but only the Holy Spirit can reach to our heart and soul and demand that we “turn away of from sin and be faithful to the Gospel!”

And so, in these messages, The real messenger is God, not the person bringing it, because God alone speaks to us in this deep and powerful way. No one else is able.

Lest we forget this mission is not only for our priests, bishops, and pope, we need to recall that all of us are baptized into the prophetic mission of Christ. We share in the Universal call to proclaim the Gospel to our world.

CCC 851 Missionary motivation. It is from God's love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, "for the love of Christ urges us on." Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth"; that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary.

What ways should a Christian manifest his concern for those who don't believe? What does it look like? Should we be nagging, antagonistic, prodding, provoking? Are we completely silent? Do we speak around it? Do we let our actions speak? The Holy Spirit will guide us in how we are to proclaim the Gospel, but let us do so after the example of Christ our Leader and Brother. Following His example in today's gospel, let us not be discouraged when sometimes people do not listen. If Jesus didn't convert every heart, why should we be discouraged if we cannot?
Let us pray to Our Lord as we receive this Holy Communion that we will not only be good listeners to the Lord when he speaks to us, but also good bearers of His message, proclaiming it in season and out.

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