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Arlington Catholic Herald

Change we can believe in
Fr. Jerry J. Pokorsky

Change is usually disruptive. Habits make life easier because, by definition, habits are designed to reduce the effort of our tasks. But when habits are challenged with changes, uncertainties are introduced that make demands on our patterns of thinking and behaving. The breaking of everyday routines can be annoying at the very least. Yet change is often desirable or even necessary: a change of scenery; changes to get out of “ruts” of behavior (such as watching too much television or a fixation with iPhones); above all, changes to renounce sinful behavior.

As usual it is helpful to look at the Gospel to examine the way God changes the world. We will find that the Gospel pattern is gradual and nonviolent, following the pattern of fulfillment before the changes of replacement.

This Sunday’s Gospel completes the Gospel passage of the preceding Sunday. In His hometown synagogue, Jesus reveals that He is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” For those with the eyes to see and the ears to hear, especially in connection with His reputed mighty deeds in Capernaum, Jesus is revealing that He is the Christ. Jesus is reaching deep into the history of Israel to make His case in a thoughtful, even gradual manner. Contrary to the opinions of many theologians of our time, Jesus was not a “revolutionary.”

Initially the neighbors of Jesus spoke highly of Him. St. Luke reveals all “were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.” But their familiarity with Him and the habits of their relationship with Him would not change. “They also asked, ‘Isn’t this the son of Joseph?’” And soon they were “all filled with fury” and “rose up, drove him out of the town and led him to the brow of the hill” to “hurl him down headlong.” He was not provoked by the rejection. He simply “passed through the midst of them and went away.” Such is the patience of Christ, patience demonstrated throughout the Gospels in the face of His enemies up to His self-surrender on the cross.

In the divine economy the second person of the Trinity enters into the world and fulfills the revelations of the Old Testament prophets before He replaces the old wine skins with the new (cf. Mk 2:22). Hence the liturgy of the synagogue is fulfilled and replaced by the Liturgy of the Word at Mass. The sacrifice of the temple is fulfilled and replaced by the one sacrifice of Christ. And the one sacrifice of Christ is represented in the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the worship of the triune God. The change that Christ effects is preceded by fulfillment. For Christ insists, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Mt 5:17). For Christians, change is linked to fulfillment and enlightenment. Grace, as the theologians say, builds on nature.

In contrast the game plan of the evil one is, as usual, a half-truth. The radical demand for replacement (“change”) is not preceded by patience; it can only be preceded by the violence of destruction. In our day, evidence of the diabolical plan for change is clear. The Ten Commandments need to be destroyed and replaced. The Sixth and Ninth Commandments protecting marriage must be destroyed and redefined to promote contraception and the “gay” agenda. The Fifth Commandment also needs to be redefined to mandate subsidized abortion on demand and euthanasia for those outside the womb deemed to be a drag on the economy. The Seventh Commandment protecting private property (always, of course, in the service of the common good) also needs to be redefined to insist upon the centralization of economic and social power in the hands of a few, including theft from children not yet born. The first three commandments, our duties to God, must be replaced by our duties to the state, perverting the notion of “social justice.” The Fourth Commandment teaching filial respect and obedience (including respect and obedience to the teachings of church and recognition of the Holy Father’s teaching infallibility in matters of faith and morals) must be replaced by the infallible teaching authority of the state and its spokesman.

Underpinning the whole diabolical plan is the undermining and replacement of the Eighth Commandment. For revolutionaries, truth can no longer be objective. Lies are enunciated with great certainty and never retracted. The most arrogant and often the most successful of politicians follow this path with great worldly success. But Christians are not “of the world” as they remain in the world. As the prophet Isaiah reveals, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Is 55:8).

Following the Lord requires of each of us a profound conversion, a change in our way of thinking and living; and it requires us to open our hearts to be enlightened and to be inwardly transformed. In other words, the Lord invites us to a lifetime of change. He does us no violence. We are, after all, His handiwork. The Lord does not destroy or even modify our nature. With His grace He purifies it, in a real sense fulfills it in His love. This is the only change we ought to believe in.

Fr. Pokorsky is pastor of St. Michael Parish in Annandale.


16 posted on 02/02/2013 10:08:59 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Work of God

No prophet is accepted in his own country Catholic Gospels - Homilies - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit

Year C

 -  4th Sunday in ordinary time

No prophet is accepted in his own country

No prophet is accepted in his own country Catholic Gospels - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit Luke 4:21-30

21 Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, "Is not this Joseph's son?"
23 He said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.' "
24 And he said, "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown.
25 But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land;
26 yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon.
27 There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian."
28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage.
29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff.
30 But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way. (NRSV)

Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of Jesus

4th Sunday in ordinary time - No prophet is accepted in his own country When the people of Nazareth heard me speak at the Synagogue, they were amazed. At first they approved my wisdom, but then they started asking questions about me.

Surely this is just the son of a carpenter, how can he speak with such wisdom, how can he be the man who has performed miracles if he is just an ordinary person from this town? How can he claim that he has the Spirit of God upon Him and that He can give sight to the blind, heal the sick, free those possessed by evil spirits and bring forth the Grace of God upon us?

I replied to them that no man is a prophet in his own land; that God preferred to bring healing to the pagans in the past instead of granting his favor to his chosen people. The reason is that they took the Kingdom of Heaven for granted and neglected the commandments of God.

After that, they decided to get rid of me, although I knew their plans and escaped from the menacing crowd.

In baptism, you are anointed with the Spirit of God and you become sons and daughters of the Most High. How come you don’t enjoy the privileges and gifts of the rightful inheritance that is yours? The reason is your lack of faith.

Ah, if you only gave credit to God, if you acknowledged with the appropriate reverence the gift that God has given you. You are temples of the Holy Spirit, God is with you, the Lord is One with you, His Spirit moves you to come to him and to know him, love him and serve him, to become One with him.

Stop underestimating yourselves, stop denying the power of the Spirit of God within you, stop alienating yourselves from God through sinfulness and lack of faith. Come closer, enter the temple of the Presence of God within you, accept that God has come to save you, that his flesh and blood is a part of you now and that you belong to Him.

I am calling everyone to accept my Holy Spirit as the power that will act in you, think in you and will in you. Surrender your lives to the action of God who wants to make you saints. Repent of your sins and forget who you are now, accept what I can make of you through my mercy, and you will be transformed. I accept you as you are; I desire your sanctification in the power of my burning Love.

Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary


17 posted on 02/02/2013 10:16:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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