Browsing Homilies

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jer 1:4-5, 17-19 | Ps 71 | 1 Cor 12:31-13:13 | Lk 4:21-30

I’m sure we’ve all seen the new rage of wooden pallet signs with a quote on them. Some of them contain “house rules” like: “In this house we forgive, we have fun, we do not eat the dog’s food,” etc. Others contain phrases that we’ve seen or heard throughout our lives: “Home is where the heart is” or “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Since these quotes are often overused phrases, they rarely make us stop and think about the deeper implications.

If home is where the heart is, why do we often try to escape it by working more hours than we are getting paid or constantly scrolling through our phones? If an apple a day does keep the doctor away, then what would our doctor say about our frequent-enough drive-thru trips? Some may argue that these sayings become so ingrained in us from an early age that we don’t have to think about them. We know to eat the apple because a good diet is better than doing our grocery shopping at a candy store. Home is supposed to be a place where we feel most seen and love and where we can find peace and comfort from an often-tumultuous world.

The second reading today is like the quote board of the bible. If you have been to a wedding or found yourself in a Facebook argument about what a Christian should be, 1 Corinthians 13 is often used. “Love is patient, love is kind” is slowly becoming the “Live. Laugh. Love,” of home décor. We hear it and see it so often that we forget that these words, when lived out, have the potential to change lives.

It’s easy to apply them during happy occasions or with people that we genuinely like being around. However, it’s much more difficult to live them out in trying times or with challenging people. Dorothy Day is quoted to having said, “I only really love God as much as the person I love the least.” This person may be someone in your family. It could be the neighbor that always has a passive aggressive remark about your home, your garbage bin placement, or the way you park. It could be a parishioner. (It could be your pastor). Maybe it’s a person who you know voted differently from you in the last election. Even worse, it could be the person staring back at you in the mirror that you cannot seem to love. God asks us to love all people regardless of who they are and to apply the same guidelines of patience and kindness to everyone, even ourselves.

We can easily downplay words of truth because they’re hard to follow. Other times we dismiss them because they come from an unlikely source. In the gospel today, Jesus speaks in the synagogue. At first, they were amazed, but then the seeds of doubt started to be sown because, after all, he’s just the carpenter’s son. They drove him out of town because they would rather dismiss the teachings that are difficult to live than to do the work to change. But Jesus challenges us to live a life so holy and loving that we become a walking picture of Christianity. You and I are called to love in such a way that we bring life and color to every room rather than being a cliché decoration.


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