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Our Lady of Victory / St. Malachy
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Caution: Putting a Sunday homily on the Website is tricky business. All the viewer has is a written text. A homily, on the other hand, is "an oral event". It may not have been said or heard the way it was written. In addition, a roughly ten-minute homily is part of a roughly one-hour worship event in which God and God's people communicate with each other by means of ritual, symbol, song, proclamation, prayer. Not everything in these homilies is original. As a homilist, I rely on and at times borrow from other homilists and writers who are not properly mentioned in this format. I am often indebted to them.

Father William Marrevee, s.c.j.

2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B

As church we have just brought the Christmas season to a close. In that season Jesus is central, especially when we attend to the Gospel passages we read:

Jesus born at Bethlehem
Recognized by the shepherds
Acknowledged by the wise men
Baptized by John
Claimed by God as his own Son

Today the focus shifts: What do we do with this Jesus? Simply acknowledging Jesus as Son of God is not enough. Singing Christmas carols celebrating his birth is relatively easy.

The question is what do we do with this Jesus in our lives? Not just the baby Jesus, but the adult Jesus, with what he lived for, with what he gave his life for. How much of a claim do we allow him to make on us, how much of a say do we allow him and what he lived for to have in the way we shape our lives?

It is translated in terms of following him, in terms of discipleship. Jesus summons us to that. You see him in today’s Gospel on a recruiting expedition. He came with a mission, a mission that empowered by the Spirit he set out to accomplish. But alone, all by himself, he accomplishes little, if anything. So he calls each one of us by name, like the Lord summoned Samuel in the first reading. He calls us “come and see”. Come, enter by world; don’t be a fence sitter, admiring me from a distance. Samuel’s response was “Speak,:Lord, for your servant is listening.”

That response is picked up in the psalm response: “Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will.” It is also a favourite song in our worship book. Many love the song, but – to be honest – it ‘scares’ me, it makes me nervous…. That song is easier sung than done. That is what discipleship is all about. It has everything to do with adopting his life style, his strategy. It has everything to do with making his desires, his dream, his passion, his actions our own. It has everything to do with making the Kingdom of God become our concern.

Our discipleship of Jesus alone will make his being given by God for the salvation of the world complete. There is a prayer of Ignatius of Loyola that sums up that notion of discipleship very well: Let me know you more clearly, let me love you more dearly, let me follow you more nearly. Then the purpose for which Jesus was given will be served, will become reality.

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