1 Jer 1:4-5, 17-19; I Cor 12:31 – 13:13; Lk 4:21-30
The pastor shocked the congregation when he announced that he was resigning from the church and moving to a drier climate. After the service a very distraught lady came to the pastor with tears in her eyes, “Oh, Pastor Bob, we are going to miss you so much. We don’t want you to leave!” The kindhearted pastor patted her hand and said “Now, now, Carolyn, don’t carry on. The pastor who takes my place might be even better than me”. “Yeah”, she said “That’s what they said the LAST time too!!!”
Dear Friends! This is the first Sunday of my 4th year here at St. Joseph Parish! I am glad to be here as your pastor. I am sure you are glad to have me too. I thank every one of you for your kind cooperation in building our parish community. Together we have achieved many things last three years. And we have many more still to accomplish in our parish.
First of all we have to focus in keeping our faith alive in our families and in the community. Our faith is not static but dynamic. Therefore I invite you all to take active participation in all the programs we offer in our church. During this year of Faith, make personal effort to strengthen the faith of your family through family prayers and bible study.
Often we restrict our worship of God to Church and the bedroom alone but the Church constantly reminds us to boldly profess our faith publicly, whether at home and elsewhere.
This idea is at the heart of our readings today – our need to exercise our prophetic office as Catholics. In a world full of so many Catholics who are so often un-catechized and are religious illiterates, we need to speak up and promote the Faith. In our first reading, we heard about the call of the prophet Jeremiah to be God’s herald. This call is extended to all the baptized through the Lord Jesus. Answering the call, however, will not be easy. God warns Jeremiah that, they will fight against you but not prevail over you. Just as He promises Jeremiah, God promises us that He will be with us to deliver us, if we meet the demands of our vocations to promote the Gospel.
In today’s Gospel we heard the story of Jesus being rejected in his own town. Now how does all this apply to us? Jesus made the application himself. He said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.” (Jn 15:18) Anyone who tries to lead a Christian life today knows how true this is. Often one can be ridiculed, laughed at or criticized for being prayerful and religious by friends and families, at work and in public places.
Take young people in high school or college. It isn’t long before some them feel in their own lives the impact of what Jesus was talking about. Ask them what happens when they try to remain honest in an exam and others around them are cheating. Ask them what happens when they try to remain chaste at a party and others around them are doing otherwise. Ask them what happens when they speak out against abortion and others around them are defending it.
What’s true of young people is also true of older ones. We’ve all experienced rejection and persecution for our faith at some time in our lives. But we can’t let this keep us from being honest or chaste. The reason is clear. Jesus said to his followers in the Sermon on the Mount: “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world… No one lights a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand… Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Mt 5:13-15.
Our vocation as Christians is to be prophets of the Father in our world, just as Jesus was a prophet of the Father in his world. This is what our baptism and confirmation were all about. In a world of darkness, we are called by God to shine like stars. Let us be courageous in living out our faith in Jesus with genuine love as St. Paul is asking us to do in our second reading.