Readings: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Corinthians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28
Originally delivered on January 31, 1988
In the first reading, we hear that God will speak to us, His people, through the prophets. And to the prophets, God makes it clear that the prophets but speak for Him and not for themselves or someone other than God. In the Gospel then, we hear that Jesus spellbound those in the synagogue with his teaching with his ability to recognize and drive out evil. In the second reading, Paul speaks to the Corinthians about serving the Lord and dealing with life as married people. Fr. Healy explains that Paul, who believes that God’s kingdom is near, was offering his thoughts but that others since have used his words beyond what Paul may have intended. We are implored to be discerning followers of Christ. (note that unfortunately, the tape of this homily is incomplete.)
Originally delivered on January 17, 1988
Readings: Samuel 3: 3-10, 19; Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20; John 1:35-42
We are each challenged to be witnesses of Christ and have our words and deeds be in harmony with God’s calling of us to be His prophets. But we also must use of gift of discernment to recognize the authentic word of God spoken by our sisters and brothers and distinguish it from the pretense of some who actually speak in their own name. Originally delivered on the eve of the celebration of the national holiday honoring Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are reminded that some try to question the credentials of those that preach the message of Jesus. But we are reminded that the measure for true prophecy is whether the preacher echoes the Gospel of love for all people, without exception.
Originally delivered on December 16, 1990
Readings: Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-12; Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28
Today we are challenged with the question: “Who are you?” We are called today to answer, like John, by saying “I am nobody; just a Christian trying to prepare the way for the Lord.” Indeed, Isaiah, John the Baptist, and Paul all paid the greatest price for their beliefs. The Church asks us to rejoice, even in the midst of injustices, because of the kind of God we have. In Jesus, God is forever calling us to let go of our fear and selfishness and to embrace our sisters and brothers in all their pain and sorrow. We are anointed to give our whole being to the poor and oppressed.
Originally delivered on December 9, 1990
Readings: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8
Today, we are asked to look at why we might characterize or dismiss the prophets? In the readings, we hear of two prophets, Isaiah and John the Baptist. Both give us a message to “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” We are called to examine ourselves and see if we are an obstacle to God’s plan of peace. Are we willing to pay the price for being peacemakers? If we take Isaiah and John the Baptizer seriously, we must acknowledge the radical call to nothing less than conversion as things as they are and a turning around to be as God wants them to be. Indeed, we are confronted, through this homily, to be like Christ in our responses to the troubles and evils in our world. That is, we are called to love and not avenge. We must bring peace where there is war; kindness and understanding where there is blindness to the truth. We may be sinners, but we are called to be prophets.
Originally delivered on July 1, 1990
Readings: Kings 4:8-11, 14-16; Romans 6:3-4, 8-11; Matthew 1-:37-42
Prophets will always be like us, frail sinners. today’s first and third readings, we hear about welcoming prophets. Indeed, in Matthew’s Gospel, we hear that “he who welcomes a holy man because he is known as holy receives a holy man’s reward. And I promise you that whoever gives a cup of cold water to one of these lowly ones because he is a disciple will not want for his reward.” But what about when God sends a prophet that challenges us? Will we welcome that prophet in our midst? We are always in a struggle to understand what God is telling us through these prophets. But, finally, we must remember that we are each, in all of our human weakness, called to be prophets.
Originally delivered on January 17, 1993
Readings: Isaiah 49:3, 5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; John 1:29-34
We are a frail people, and yet, we are asked to walk in the likes of John the Baptist and the other prophets, and be a light to all. We are reminded that there are prophets in our time as we celebrate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Despite all of our faults, just as the prophets before us, we can speak the truth of Jesus. Each of us must take action, in whatever we can, and not leave it up to others to change the order of things that keep many of sisters and brothers suffering. God has placed the incomprehensible burden of freedom in our hands. To embrace Jesus means that each of us must embrace everyone as a child of God.