Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time by Fr. Joe Tedesco

Homily of 4 February 2018

Job 7: 1-4, 6-7 1 Corinthians 9: 16-19, 22-23 Mark 1: 21- 28

People were looking for Jesus because He healed them, freed them of their demons and gave them a sense of right because he taught with authority. He was on point with the needs of the people, and so they searched for him again and again.

Not much has changed has it? People are still searching for Jesus because he can give what we truly are looking for: God – meaning and purpose of life. Jesus said, I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.

The question for us now is: Do we know that ultimately people are looking for us to give them Jesus. If we look at what Jesus did, we see it. He went from village to village preaching, healing and leaving behind disciples – those who believed in him, to continue his work. Remember he sent out the 72 – the first wave of disciples to do what he did, and Jesus is still doing that- sending out the baptized to continue what he did.

And right away we know it as an enormous challenge. It’s no easy task, no easy vocation, this call to believe in Christ and to be Christ for others. But we are chosen, and we have answered the call. We are the Church, the very Body of Christ on earth.

Can we do it? Can we find the courage to let go of ourselves, to be about welcoming everyone into life with Christ, to be about justice in every way for every person and to learn to love them? Right there is the healing, the freedom, the new life everyone is looking for. The very experience of God’s love seen in Christ coming alive in our human words and human actions.

The point is, whatever challenge you can name – God is the cure. God is the answer. And Jesus in the Gospel today gives us the means: prayer. He goes to prayer then, he goes to work, to fulfill the mission God gave him. Preaching the Good News of God’s love and salvation for all.

We celebrate today in the American Church the World Day for Consecrated Life. We pray and give thanks for all those who live a vowed religious life. They are all the nuns and monks, religious sisters, friars, all who belong to Institutes of Consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic life. All these men and women are consecrated witnesses to the truth of God in Christ and the new life Christ brings us. They minister to all the compassion of Christ through works of redemptive healing and rescue to seek to end suffering. The prayer and works of their life are a gift to the whole of humanity. So, we pray today for all consecrated religious, give thanks for them and pray that more are called to a religious vocation.

What’s noteworthy here is that all the baptized into Christ are consecrated. Listen to the words of the Vatican Council document on the Church # 10: The baptized by regeneration and anointing of the Holy Spirit are consecrated as a spiritual house and a holy Priesthood, that through all their Christian activities they may offer spiritual sacrifices and proclaim the marvels of him who has called them out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Sounds pretty much like what Christ’s mission was and how he lived it out. We have this wondrous connection with Christ – we share his life and mission through our baptism as a consecrated people. How special we are to Christ.

Pope Francis named 2015 the Year of Consecrated life, and asked several things of Religious men and women to focus on during that year. They are all valid still and I want to highlight two of them for us since all of us belong to this family of those consecrated to God:

He says, this consecrated life calls us to live the present with passion. This means to live the gospel radically and sincerely. It’s not enough to read the gospel and meditate on it. We must put Jesus’ words into effect in our lives, to truly be who we are called to be – Christ for others. So whatever way you are called to live Christ, live wholeheartedly.

Secondly, the Pope says he is counting on us “to wake up the world.” He means be prophetic – be witnesses to God in every way. Be a leaven in society, live now the future of Christ. Point to what is the truth for every person as Children of God especially the poor and marginalized so that they would have a life of justice and dignity.

We can do this, we have faith, hope and love. We can live with this zeal for the fulfillment of the Kingdom.

So, then our lives of passion and witness can bring the reality of God truly coming alive in our world. The task is clear. Keep looking to Jesus; that’s our prayer because Jesus always shows us the way. The closer we come to know Jesus, to love Jesus, the more we can be our true selves in God.

St Paul says it, “I have become all things for all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the Gospel, so that I to may have a share in it.”