Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
January 26th, 2014
Year A

During the Season of Advent, the readings and the prayers of the Mass spoke of the anticipation of the coming Messiah. The Christmas Season celebrates His birth in time and the dawning of the salvation of all humanity. In ordinary time, which we have no entered, we transition from the birth of Christ to hearing of His life and mission. Even for Jesus, this is His time of transition. John the Baptist has been arrested. Up to this point He had been waiting in the wings. It is now time for Him to step up to the plate and begin the mission for which He came.

Interestingly, His first stop is Capernaum, a city on the sea – a trading post. Capernaum is a very significant stop in His missionary journey. It thrived on a fishing industry and was very close to the Roman road the Via Maris that served as a commercial route connecting Galilee with Syria. Due to its commercial locale both Jews and Gentiles lived the city. His presence here means something. He is sending the message, very early on, that His mission of salvation is meant for all people. St. Matthew even connects this to the prophecy of Isaiah heard in our first reading. In the 8th century BC Assyrians overran the territory. The Jews that lived here were the first to be deported in the exile. Jesus presence here sends another message. This time to the Israelites – those who first experienced the darkness of the exile will now be the first encounter the light of God’s goodness.

His next move is even more significant. After going straight to people of different backgrounds and making His presence known, He calls His disciples. These are the first men to encounter the light of the Messiah. In a homily on this Gospel given by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1981, he commented: “The men experienced the fascination of the hidden light that emanated from him, and they followed him without delay so that their path through life might shine with his brightness. But that light of Jesus shines out for everyone” (25/Jan/81).

One can only imagine the powerful effect of this encounter with God. His words and presence must have penetrated deeply into the very hearts and souls of these common fishermen. For them, he cast a deeper meaning into their lives that was irresistible. In a simple and brief encounter, they could not help but want to follow Him. We must, therefore, acknowledge the spiritual impact He has on these men. When the word of God speaks, He speaks with the power and grace of the Almighty. While their response is irresistible it is no less extraordinary. An encounter with Him, hearing His voice changes lives. The disciples enter into a new phase of their lives – a transition from fishermen to Apostles.

Have you ever experienced this call? Have you ever really heard the voice of Jesus speak to your own heart in such a powerful way? Have you ever heard Him say to you: “follow me.” I can imagine that there would have been a least some element of fear in the hearts and minds of the disciples. I can imagine that if we have heard His voice in our lives that there is a similar feeling. I have felt this fear in my own life. I have resisted this call. Yet, the power of God that comes forth from the mouth of the savior kept after me to the point when I could not resist any longer. I realized, after some years of back and forth with the Lord, that He was calling me to be light – His light. I had to change my whole life and enter into a new life, a life lived in Christ. I transitioned and was changed by God.

Sometimes, I think we don’t realize that He calls all of us who call upon His name to be light. The fear of it is because we also know the obligations it entails. We are afraid to change, to transition from what is comfortable and normal to be His light. The challenges of the world’s opposition seem overwhelming. But, if we have truly encountered the Lord in the same way that the first disciples did on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, how can we not want to share that experience? Why is it that we are afraid to be Christ’s light to others? How can we resist accepting the challenge to change our lives, to live totally for Him and to change our lives?

As He walked along the shore so many centuries ago, Jesus once again, walks with us. He makes His presence known the Holy Eucharist. He invites us to walk more closely with Him. At the same time, He asks us to be His light in our world. We must take His word into our daily lives. He does not ask us to be theologians. He does not ask us stand up in the Student Union with a bull-horn. He asks us to challenge ourselves to live more fully in His light. He asks us to step out of the darkness of sin into His light. He asks us to be His light to others – to invite them to have an encounter with His love and mercy. This is can be difficult. I challenge you, however, to invite and encourage your friends, co-workers, colleagues, and family members to meet Jesus here.

May the Lord’s invitation heard today give us the necessary to make the transition to live the Christian life more consistently, may His grace keep us always close to His heart and may it help us to be His light for others.
















Fr. Jon Reardon

Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.



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