Celebrate Sunday Mass - 1.24.21

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1/24/2021 (1 month ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

January 24th, 2021 -- The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...

I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO SUNDAY MASS ON THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME in the Catholic Diocese of Tyler. The response to offering these beautiful liturgies has been overwhelming. The readings, as always, offer so much for us to reflect on. It is helpful to pray through them and reflect upon them before we assist at Holy Mass.

On this Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, our first reading is taken from the Book of Jonah in the Hebrew Scriptures, what Christians call the Old Testament. It is a short book - but packed with significance. Jonah, the reluctant prophet who had tried to run from God and His Call. He did not want to go to Nineveh and proclaim the Lords coming judgment to the people for their sin.

But he could not escape. 

In the passage we heard today, Jonah is again called to preach the message of Gods wrath on the city. He submits but does not expect the result. Nineveh repents and God does not judge the City. The story of Nineveh is brought up by Jesus in His public ministry. When the purportedly religious leaders failed to repent and rejected Him, he tells them that the men of Nineveh at least repented.

Gods Justice and Mercy are nit at odds with one another. The Lord is always eager to forgive. But He requires our repentance. Do we recognize our own sin? Or do we excuse it? Do we repent? We can, we should. And, as Catholic Christians the wonderful Sacrament of Confession, the Sacrament of New Beginnings, always awaits us.

The Second Reading is an excerpt from the 7th chapter of the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians. It is best understood with some context. The Christians in Corinth were facing false teachers and great divisions in their midst. The Apostle Paul spends much of the letter rebuking the false teachers and re-presenting the true teaching of the faith. He addresses everything about living the Way of Jesus Christ.

In chapter seven he had just given lengthy teaching concerning marriage in the Lord, fidelity to your spouse and consecrated Christian celibacy. The excerpt we heard comes toward the end of that chapter when he is summing up the importance of putting Jesus Christ first, whether we are called to marriage or not. We are to always remember that our citizenship is in heaven. Do we believe this? Is Jesus the center of our lives? Is He the Lord of our entire lives? 

In the Gospel appointed for this Lords Day, we continue to hear more from the Gospel of St Mark. In particular, the continued calling of the first disciples. "I will make you fishers of men" he says to James and John. They were fishermen by profession. They worked out of a boat. Jesus takes their natural gifts, and over the years that they study under Him, He ‽super-naturalizes" them. He calls them into the boat of the Church and sends them out to fish for men and women. 

Every Christian, by virtue of their Baptism, is called to fish for men and women today. That means you...and you...and you...and me. The Catholic Church has always taught that every single human being on the face of the earth has a right to hear the liberating Gospel message of Jesus Christ as fully revealed in the heart of His Catholic Church. 

That will be accomplished in this hour by you and me, no matter what our state in life, or specific vocation. We are all baptized into Christ and called to participate in the saving mission of His Church. We are all called to evangelize, to share the Good News, in word and lifestyle.

However, to be able to engage such a missionary task, many Catholic Christians need to be renewed in their own Baptismal faith through a personal and transformative encounter with the Risen Lord. All of the faithful, men, and women, lay, clergy and religious - ALL of the faithful - are members of the Body of Christ. As Pope Emeritus Benedict often reminded us, we are "Co-Responsible" for the Church. 

We all need to view ourselves as missionaries. This mission is not reserved for a group of "professionals", whether they be clergy or the growing "professional" lay faithful whose numbers seem to be multiplying. Rather, it is the task incumbent on all the Christian faithful. We have all been called by Jesus Christ. 

Do you hear Him calling you? If not, listen more closely... He is.

May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church, and the Nations of the world on this Lord's Day.   

Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation

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