IGNITE THE FIRE
Fr. Rick’s Two Minute Homily for 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, A, January 22, 2023
Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25 https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/012223.cfm
Jesus seeks us out.
I think it’s fair to say that 40 or 50 years ago, people stayed in the town where they were born. You might have a few that would move on, especially after college. But today, it’s rare to have a family with other siblings living in the same town all their life.
My brother Allan lives in Southern California, and my sister Bev lives in Peoria, Illinois. And my sister Suzy is living in Missouri. And Mom and Dad, please, God, have a heavenly ZIP Code.
Jesus was always on the move, which was very unusual for his time. After his baptism by John, he didn’t return to his hometown, Nazareth. Jesus made a deliberate choice to settle down somewhere else. He’s out looking for a home. But we know it’s not the kind of home with four walls and a roof where you can relax, take off your sandals, sit a spell, and rest after a busy day.
He chose Capernaum, the city of Capernaum, a harbor town full of cutthroats, people looking for the best deal, and ways to scam you. It was full of pagans too. Wouldn’t you think Bethlehem, Jerusalem, or one of those more religious towns would be best?
No, not Jesus. He chose Capernaum, a town full of darkness, sin, and the world, which teaches us something. Jesus doesn’t wait for us to come to him. He seeks us out. He knew that the people who lived there were the hungriest of all people for Good News, even though that was the farthest thing from their minds.
Think of some people who know that Jesus is the farthest from their minds. So, he goes for the jugular. His approach isn’t passive but very, very direct. "Repent and believe in the Good News."
Capernaum, for Jesus, was the perfect place for Him to settle, for Him to make his home; sin, sickness, ignorance of God’s ways – "The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by darkness, light has arisen." All the powers of darkness at work in us are where Jesus is at His best. The Lord being pushed out of our society gives us hope.
Isn’t it remarkable that where we are at our worst, Jesus is at his best? So, where in my life is my Capharnaum? What is Jesus seeking out in me?
Fr. Rick Pilger, IC