I was preparing the homily for February the 3rd. I just wanted to share this thoughts with all of you. Please feel free to send me ideas or comments at the bottom or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This are the reading for that Sunday:
"The paradox of the prophets"
It is a paradox that the prophets are the ones who announce the good news of the will of God and yet are treated like criminals. This occurs so regularly that our Lord announces: "Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in Heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Mathew 5: 11-12). It is a hard test for the prophets because of the loneliness, the ridicule they endure, and some were even tortured and put to death. And yet what gives us comfort is that foremost among this list of witnesses to the Good News is Jesus Christ Himself. The Church calls him "King of Martyrs" because He is first among prophets and first among those who were hated and persecuted for their witness to the Truth.
Are you called by God with a specific vocation? Are you listening? Are you responding?
Jeremiah tries to escape from what he knows God is calling to: his vocation (from the Latin vocatio – “called”). God is calling him but he feels little, he is afraid of a task that he knows is difficult. He knows also that to answer to the call is to give to God power and control over everything in his life. His excuse is very simple: "I am just a kid." Personally, I think that this is the same answer that many young people give God today. They see themselves as too little, too young to serve in the Army if God. The question I have for them is this: how come they don't see themselves "too young" when they learn to smoke, drink alcohol or have pre-marital sex?
People that love you will always lead you to fulfill your mission (no matter how hard is).
God didn't accept Jeremiah's excuse (nor does he accept it from youth in our day). What we can see is that He encourages him to begin doing what he was told to do (his mission) with more fidelity.
God helped Jeremiah to keep His way with more fidelity. What is fidelity? The foundation of true fidelity is to believe. God invites Jeremiah to believe in the One who is sending him. If he does that, then Jeremiah will have the courage to give his very life for God. If we trust God, we can do great things too. What is the ridicule of men, or even the persecutions of the wicked, when we truly believe we have the living God dwelling in our hearts? What is a little sand in your shoes, when you are already at the beach?
Jesus: a Prophet Rejected by the “Narrow Minded”
The Gospel today shows us that people first admired Jesus, then they were disappointed at His teaching, and then they rejected Him altogether. And that will be the life of Jesus until the end: admired, misunderstood, and rejected. All because He did not fit the pre-conceived mold the Jews had for the Messiah. He shattered that mold, because He was no mere man, but the Son of God.
Those called and sent by God can expect to be treated the same way. People naturally admire and are attracted to the excellence God displays through His servants, yet we tend to focus more the gifts than the Giver. The gifts delight us, yet the commands of the Giver seem to constrain us, so we try to keep the first and reject the second. We want a vending-machine God, who does everything we want and never imposes into our lives. The Jews liked it when Jesus gave them free bread; they weren’t as happy when He gave them the Beatitudes. In the end however, the problem is not wanting too much from God; it’s not wanting enough. God does not want to give us the little objects of our passing desires: He wants to give us His very self, to fill our hearts, not just our stomachs. Yet God is so big that He needs to fill our whole lives; our thoughts, our desires, our plans, our decision-making. Our pre-conceived notions of happiness are too small for what God has planned.
Lord, I do believe in you, and I long to open my heart completely to receive your Word in total faith and trust. I seek you ardently in this prayer so as to know you better. I want to know you so as to love you more completely as my Savior and Lord.
Lord, grant me the grace of active and total faith in you.
Lord, I want to open myself to what you propose to me in prayer and to eliminate all pride and human calculation at work in my heart and mind. I trust in you, Lord, for you seek only to make me happy, never to hurt me. When my own reason becomes darkened and my natural enthusiasm wanes before the mystery of your design, help me confide in and walk by your holy power and wisdom.