Homily at Communion Service – 5th Wednesday in Ordinary Time
Our Lady of Fatima – February 6, 2019
No audio recording today.
- In today’s gospel reading Jesus returns to his hometown and is rejected by his friends and neighbors. There are two lessons we can take from today’s reading.
- The first is the obvious: “familiarity breeds contempt.” How often have we experienced this when we attempt to share our faith with a family member or a friend, especially if they have known us long before we took our faith seriously.
- It’s far easier to evangelize someone we don’t know than someone we’ve known for years, isn’t it? Perhaps we can take consolation in the fact that Jesus experienced this same frustration when his friends and neighbors in Nazareth would not even consider that his words were were the words of Truth and Life.
- So let’s be patient with those close to us who refuse to accept our efforts to share our faith with them or bring them back to church. Let’s remember that Our Lord had a similar experience in his hometown.
- The second lesson from today’s reading is less obvious, but one that is equally, if not more, important.
- Nazareth was the place Jesus was raised. He was known as an ordinary resident, a carpenter by trade, and the community there was not prepared to accept him as a rabbi, let alone the long-awaited Messiah!
- The Catechism tells us (CCC 531-533) that Jesus lived the life of an ordinary person of his day. A daily life spent without evident greatness and a life of manual labor. He prayed and worshipped God as an ordinary Jew. Today’s reading provides the only reference in scripture to Jesus’ profession as a carpenter. We can surmise that Jesus worked hard at his trade, putting in an honest day’s work, assisting St. Joseph, during these “hidden years” of his life.
- The less obvious lesson for us today is that of seeking holiness through our daily work and the ordinary events in our lives. As St. Therese of Lisieux would say, “Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.”
- We don’t have to rise to prominence or greatness to be a Saint. We simply have to be true to our calling…to our state in life, just as Jesus was in his early years before he began his public ministry.
- So today let’s remember these two lessons as we go about the ordinary events of our lives.
- First, let’s not get too stressed out if we find that those who are close to us do not seem to be receptive to our efforts to share the precious gift of our faith with them. Let’s keep them in our prayers and let God do the rest of the work. Perhaps he’ll send someone less familiar to them who they will be able to listen to.
- Secondly, let’s rejoice in the fact that we can find the Lord in the ordinary, everyday events of our lives. All we need to do is to be faithful to whatever we have been called to do each day and do it well, with integrity.
- We imitate Jesus in our daily lives not by seeking recognition or greatness for what we do, but by simply doing our work with joy in our hearts and a smile on our face. This, my friends, is holiness.