Celebrate Sunday Mass - 1.21.24

JANUARY 21, 2024 - Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

My friends, brothers, and sisters in the Lord,

In the passage we heard today, Jonah is again called to preach the message of God's wrath on the city. He submits but does not expect the result. Nineveh repents and God di 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.

1/21/2024 (1 month ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In the passage we heard today, Jonah is again called to preach the message of God's wrath on the city. He submits but does not expect the result. Nineveh repents and God di 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.

God's Justice and Mercy are not 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, awaits us.

The Second Reading, an excerpt from the 7th chapter of the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, is best understood in its 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 representing the true teaching of the faith concerning everything about living the Way of Jesus Christ

In chapter seven, he had given lengthy teaching concerning marriage in the Lord, fidelity to your spouse and consecrated 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 remember that our citizenship is in heaven. Do we believe this? Is Jesus the center of our lives? Is He the Lord?

In the Gospel appointed for this Lord's 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 "supernaturalizes" 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.

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 of the Christian faithful.

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

Have a wonderful Lord's Day,

Deacon Keith Fournier, JD, MTS, MPhil

Dean of Catholic Online School

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