Homily Fourth Sunday Year C Our prophetic call

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Homily Fourth Sunday Year C

 

Reading 1: God reveals to Jeremiah that he had been called to the prophetic ministry. God called Jeremiah to speak a message to a people who had turned away from God. Jeremiah was to tell the people that if they did not repent God would send them into exile.

 

Jeremiah knew the state of the people. He told God to choose someone else for he felt too young and inadequate for this hard task. But God reminds Jeremiah that he created and formed him in his mother’s womb and prepared him for this ministry. So don’t rebel like the Israelites but listen to and act on the word received from God.

 

How often are we afraid to do what the Lord wants us to do because of the enormity of the task? But like to Jeremiah, God states the convincing truth: “I am with you. Stand firm and do what I ask you to do. For I am your strength and security.”

 

Jeremiah’s life was not easy. The word he was given to proclaim was not a comforting word. Basically, it was if the people refused to listen to the Lord’s word and not return to the Lord there will be dire consequences. When they refused, then Jeremiah told them to accept their fate from the Lord and surrender to their enemies. Obviously, this was an unpopular word for which Jeremiah suffered immensely. What sustained Jeremiah was his relationship with God. He called it “a fire in his belly” which would not let him stop doing what God told him to do. He was a prophet and like many of the other prophets he was rejected and suffered.

 

Reading 2: Jeremiah was a courageous prophet. Jesus was a courageous prophet. What sustained them? The love of God and their desire to respond to that love. The fire in Jeremiah’s belly was that love for God that he couldn’t deny. The cost of love was the embracing the cross of being a prophet who was going to be rejected. Love sustained him.

 

Jesus knew the Father loved him in his humanity. He, in turn, loved the Father, even though his own community rejected him. He found his identity, purpose and resolve in his love relationship with the Father.

 

Paul came to the same conclusion. The only thing that matters in the end is love. Am I in love with God? Is this the motivating factor in my actions? As St Therese of Avila once said: “Love is responded to with love alone.” To become a courageous follower of Jesus and no longer a comfortable one is to be on fire with love for the Lord, never being ashamed of the Gospel of love proclaimed and lived in the life of Jesus.

 

Gospel: Like Jeremiah, Jesus was aware of the gift of prophesy he had been given by the Father. Background, Jesus had just a few months earlier experienced the affirmation of the Father and the anointing of the Spirit at his commitment in being baptized. Afterwards his reputation as a teacher spread.

 

Jesus goes back to Nazareth to visit with his mother Mary. On the Sabbath he goes with her to the Synagogue as every observant Jew did. Because his reputation has spread even to Nazareth, they asked him to do the reading and to give a few words of interpretation. They gave him the scroll with Isaiah’s prophetic words. Jesus went to the passage that identified the Messiah and his mission. His interpretation was simple. “Today, this passage has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

At first, there is amazement but that amazement turned into anger and rejection. Jesus made it clear that he knew, like the prophets before him, that he would not be accepted even by his own community and family. He knew that because of the lack of openness to the plan of God, like their ancestors whose hearts were hardened, he would not be able to perform many miracles there. They did not believe in him. They wanted to control him, not allowing him to be who he was in the Father’s plan. But Jesus refused to allow them to determine his response to the Father. He would speak the Father’s words, and fulfill the Father’s plan for him.

 

Each of us is a prophet by virtue of our baptism and confirmation. Each of us is to listen and act on the Word of the Lord, no matter the acceptance or rejection from others. For God is with us and gives us all we need to fulfill the mission he has given us. Only love will enable us to be faithful to the call.

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