Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Homily for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark 1:14-20

What a great consolation today's readings are for those who seek to proclaim the Gospel of Life! How easy it is to become discouraged: to despair that those who espouse abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment will ever heed the consumate value of life from conception to natural death. How hard it is, sometimes, to believe that they will change.

Jonah had the same problem. "Go to the Ninevites," God told him. "Tell them to repent." But Jonah would not believe they could repent. He ran as far away as he could from God's call. He ran all the way to the belly of a whale. But when, after running away for as long as he was able, he finally gave in to God's will, he entered the city of Ninenveh. I wonder how much confidence this reluctant prophet put behind his proclamation in the streets: "Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed."? Yet after only one day, we are told "the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth." If the people of Nineveh "turned from their evil ways," why do we doubt that God cannot turn the hearts of abortionists and those who oppose the Gospel of life today?

The proclamation of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark today is at the heart of the Gospel message: "The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." Pope John Paul II has told us how this Gospel is a Gospel of Life. A Gospel of infinite love incarnate, of pure love which sacrifices unto death, of risen love which not even death can destroy. Simon and Andrew and James and John were all standing in their boats when the Lord called them to be fishers of men. They left all they knew and followed him to live this Gospel of Life. Will we do the same?


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