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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Homily 2021-01-30 Saturday Week 3 in Ordinary Time

Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19; Luke 1; Mark 4:35-41
The Readings today are applicable to some of us today. Perhaps, we may feel like we are in a great windstorm with waves beating against us. And no matter how much we try, we cannot accomplish our plans and dreams. The disciples were in this same situation in the Gospel. As they were crossing to the other side, they encountered a strong windstorm that caused expert fishermen to think they are perishing. They woke up Jesus from his sleep, and said Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind and commanded the sea to be still. When everything calmed down, Jesus asked the disciples: Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith? So what is faith?
In his Encyclical Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI used a different translation of the first verse of our First Reading saying faith is the substance of thing hoped for. He also said faith can form the intellect, guiding reason. More importantly, faith transforms a person. Faith is based on something already there but still unseen. It is like an embryo in a mother’s womb. Shortly after a child is conceived in the mother’s womb, the mother knows the child is present even if she has not seen the child because her body changes and she experiences things that point to a pregnancy. Faith acts this way when it believes because of the signs that indicate so. Faith is not based on emotions or feelings. But faith has to be reasonable.
The First Reading says by faith, Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He who received the promises was ready to offer up his only son… Abraham considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead – and figuratively speaking he did receive Isaac back. Notice the phrase: Abraham considered the fact. Abraham believed God can raise someone from the dead. Why did Abraham believe this is true? St Paul tells us in Romans 4:19-20 And he was not weak in faith. Neither did he consider his own body, now dead (whereas he was almost an hundred years old), nor the dead womb of Sarah. In the promise also of God he staggered not by distrust: but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God: Abraham experienced the power of God in his dead body and in Sarah’s dead womb. When Sarah conceived and gave birth to her son, God proved he is the God of life, because he brought life out of a dead body and a dead womb. When God fulfilled his promise, Abraham knew that God can raise someone from the dead because he gave life to what was dead and he fulfilled his promise.
What I am going to say applies to myself and to those who hear this. Perhaps, there is someone watching now, who feels God does not care, that God has abandoned them. Perhaps there is one who has lost all hope of ever recovering what they lost, who thinks there is nothing else in life because the plans they made have been destroyed. If this is your situation now, listen carefully, because you are where God wants you to be. The Canticle today says: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who has come to his people. God, your Father in heaven, loves you more than you can ever imagine. He is here to rescue you so you can worship him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of your life. Despite your failures, your sinfulness, and even anger towards him, he loves you for who you are. If your dreams were destroyed, take God’s dream for you. If your plans failed, take God’s plan for you. Perhaps you are being thrown by the wind that blows violently, Jesus calls out Peace, be still and know that I am God.
You are worth more than the birds of the air. It may be difficult to have faith in God. But what choice do we have? To go on living without direction in life? Or to let God take charge of your life and let him fulfill his dream for you? Jeremiah 29:11 tells us God knows his plans for you. And his plans are for your peace, and not of affliction, to give you an end and patience. And you shall call upon me, and you shall go: and you shall pray to me, and I will hear you. You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart.
During the consecration, as the Bread and Wine are transformed into his Body and Blood, call on Jesus then you shall go to where he wants you to go because he will save you and show you the true meaning of life. Come to Jesus. Ask the Blessed Mother to lead you to her Son. Do not be afraid. Jesus waits.

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