Sunday Homilies by Fr. Rudolf V. D Souza

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3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 27, 2008 Year:  A
Is. 9:1-4; 1 Cor. 1:10-3, 17-8; Mt. 4:12-23
The Good News of the Kingdom

 First Reading...
"There will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time the Lord brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness - on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder.

"For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian." [Is. 9:1-4]

Second Reading...
"I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.

For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ."

Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." [1 Cor. 1:10-3, 17-8]

Gospel Reading...
"When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles - the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned."

From that time Jesus began to proclaim, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people." Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people." [Mt. 4:12-23]

 

"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom" [Mt. 4:23] "the people saw a great light." [Is. 9:2]

Imagine you have a radio that no matter how you turn the knob picks up only one station. You have no control over the volume. At times the sound is barely audible, at others, it is so loud that It almost shatters your eardrums. Moreover it is impossible to turn it off: at times it will be slow: It will suddenly begin to blare away when you want to rest and sleep. Who would put up with this kind of performance in a radio? And yet when your heart behaves in this kind of crazy fashion you not only put up with It but even call It normal and human.  

Think of the numerous times you were tossed about by your emotions, that you have suffered the pangs of anger depression, anxiety, when in every instance It was because your heart became set on getting something that you did not have, or on holding on to something that you had, or on avoiding something that you did not want. You were in love and you felt rejected or jealous: suddenly all your mind and heart became focussed on this one thing, and the banquet of life turned to ashes in your mouth. You were bent on winning an election and in the din of battle it was impossible to hear the songs of birds: your ambition drowned out every other sound. You were faced with the possibility of a serious illness, or the loss of a loved one and you found it impossible to concentrate on anything.  

To put it briefly, the moment you pick up an attachment, the functioning of this lovely apparatus called the human heart is destroyed. If you want to repair your radio, you must study radio mechanics. If you want to reform your heart, you must give serious, prolonged thought to four liberating truths. But first choose some attachment that troubles you, something that you are clinging to or something that you dread, or something you are craving for, and keep this attachment in mind as you listen to these truths. The first truth: You must choose between your attachment and happiness. You cannot have both. The moment you pick up an attachment, your heart is thrown out of kilter and your ability to lead a Joyful carefree serene life is destroyed. See how true this is when applied to the attachment that you have chosen.  

The second truth: Where did your attachment come from? You were not born with It. It sprang from a lie that your society and your culture have told you, or a lie that you have told yourself, namely, that without this or the other, without this person or the other, you can't be happy. Just open your eyes and see how false this is. There are hundreds of persons who are perfectly happy without this thing or person or situation that you crave for and that you have convinced yourself you cannot live without. So make your choice: Do you want your attachment, or your freedom and happiness. 

The third truth: If you wish to be fully alive you must develop a sense of perspective. Life is infinitely greater than this trifle your heart is attached to and which you have given the power to so upset you. Trifle, yes because if you live long enough a day will easily come when it will cease to matter. It will not even be remembered your own experience will confirm this. Just as today you barely remember, are no longer the least bit affected by those tremendous trifles that so disturbed you in the past.  

And so the fourth truth brings you to the unavoidable conclusion, that no thing or person outside of you has the power to make you happy or unhappy. Whether you are aware of it or not it is you and only you, who decide to be happy or unhappy, whether you will cling to your attachment or not in any given situation.

As you ponder these truths you may become aware that your heart is resisting them or argues against them and refuses to look at them. That is a sign that you have not yet suffered enough at the hand of your attachments to really want to do something about your spiritual radio. Or your heart may place no resistance to these truths: If that is so, rejoice. Repentance, the refashioning of the heart has begun and the kingdom of God the gratefully carefree life of children has come within your grasp at last and you are about to reach out and take possession of it. 

As St. Paul said, "For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." [1 Cor. 1:18] On this subject, St. Thomas Aquinas commented that men are accustomed to regard as foolishness whatever surpasses their understanding. Is this what is happening when one prefers sensations versus hearing the Word of God that is being preached? The grace of God does not flow through sensations. But it does flow through the preaching of the Holy Scriptures. 

"Jesus traveled throughout Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people." [Mt. 4:23] Equally today, the Word of God, the promoting of the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven, heals all kinds of ills. The Word of God transforms the hearts so victims may forgive their transgressors, those who have physically abused them, those who have sexually abused them and those who have psychologically abuse them.

  Click here for other Sunday Homilies 

A New book from Fr. Rudy :
Short review of the book: This book is an out come of a serious exegetical study on the important words and texts from the writings of St John of the Cross. The study deals with a short life and writings of the mystic and then does a complete study on GOD, MAN and WAYS to EXPERIENCE GOD. The book is available at: St. Joseph Church, Near Holy Cross Convent School, Mira Road East, Thane Dt. Maharashtra State - 401 107, India. Books can be ordered through email: rudyocd@yahoo.com or rudyocd@gmail.com

The cost of the book is Rs. 125/- pp.xviii + 234, The Title of the Book is: THE DYNAMISM OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH - An Exegetical Study on St. John of the Cross, author: Dr. Rudolf V. D' Souza, OCD, MA. PhD.

Dear friend, my homilies will be posted on Thursdays and you can benefit them and if you need more resources, you could contact me on rudyocd@yahoo.com or rudyocd@gmail.com

Let us make this ministry fruitful one so that the Word of God becomes a source of joy for me and for you and help people become more aware of its riches. You are also welcome to share your feedback with me. Thanks and God bless. 

 

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