The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Date: 
Sun, 01/21/2018
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

I am very proud of the children, the young people, who attend St. Agnes School.
I find them to be respectful, well-behaved, cooperative, and joyful.
I say this based on my interaction with them.
I was with them yesterday (Friday) morning for an all-school Mass.
Granted, I get them stirred up a little bit at homily time.
Maybe more than a little bit.
Mr. Hoyt tells me I’m the only priest he knows
who makes a school Mass sound like a football game.
At least I know the students are cheering for the right team.  “Yea God!”
 
I told them yesterday (Friday) that I was distracted as I was celebrating Mass.
Why?  Because I was wearing a brand new pair of shoes….and my feet were aching.
As adults we have come to learn that new shoes have to be broken in.
We know that you don’t wear a new pair of boots when taking a long hike.
You wear them around the house for a while…stretch and soften up the leather.
Otherwise you wind up with blisters and sore feet.
But once they’re broken in, once they soften up,
we seldom think of the fact that we are wearing shoes throughout the day.
 
In today’s gospel, Jesus is just beginning his public ministry.
He invites Simon and Andrew, James and John, to follow him, to become his disciples.
Jesus’ vision of the future entailed a mission
where he needed the help of others.
His Kingdom would not find a foothold in this world,
it would grow and expand over time
unless others got on board and dedicated themselves to continuing his work.
 
Having disciples sets up a new situation for Jesus
Committing to Jesus as a teacher, leaving family and livelihood to do so,
is a new situation for these men.
I would imagine getting used to each other required patience from Jesus
and adjustment for the new recruits….
sorting through differences, letting go of familiar expectations and practices,
and adopting new ways of interaction and of living at the feet of the master.
Eventually, things would have become somewhat comfortable
to the point where their togetherness wasn’t so irritable as enjoyable.
 
This is not recorded in the Scriptures, but as a good leader,
I’m sure Jesus turned to his disciples at some point and said;
“when I look at you, when I see your faces, I see something very good:
 
 
- I see a future where people get along with each other.
            - I see friendship and spirit and people who are willing to dream of a better world.
            - I see a community where everyone is welcome, where everyone finds their place/fits in.
            - I see people coming together in love;.
- I see the end to division.
            - I see the healing of wounded hearts and broken lives.
            - I see one family united together for the purpose of bringing light to darkness
and helping save the world from sin.”
 
Are we willing to believe, as followers of Jesus, that he says the same to us?
When he looks at us he doesn’t say:
            - I see failure.
            - I see that all is lost.
            - I see misfortune, and adversity, and trouble ahead.
            - I see a dead end.
If we hear these things we’re listening to the wrong voice.
 
When Jesus looks at us he does say:
            - I see sin.
            - I see woundedness and brokenness.
            - I see waywardness.
            - I see hesitation and a little resistance.
            - I see uncertainty.
But he also says:
            - I see new life, new direction, new hope.
            - I see fruitfulness.
            - I see healing and renewal.
            - I see forgiveness and reconciliation.
            - I see wisdom, and understanding and enlightenment.
            - I see the power of love breaking down walls and the power of goodness victorious over
 evil.
            - I see courage and kindness and gratitude.
            - I see a future where faith overcomes obstacles and grace is strength.
            - I see a time when peace reigns in human hearts.
            - I see new birth.
            - I see transformation.
 
It’s time for us to stop listening to the world,
stop allowing the world to determine who we are and what we can become.
You do realize, I hope,
that the whole point of consumerism and commercial enterprises is to convince us
that are lives are wanting, our lives are incomplete…..
if we don’t have the newest and the best,
if you don’t keep up with current fads and fashions….
that we’re missing out, that we’re being left behind,
that we’re on the outside of up and coming society.
Jesus tells us what his love makes possible with regards to our future.
“When you accept the invitation to follow me” Jesus says,
“I see challenges but I also see happiness that lasts forever.”
The world as it is cannot give us what is eternal.
When is the last time you heard a government official say
“I have the antidote to the poison of sin”?
When is the last time any major corporation said
“work for us and find the real meaning and purpose of your life”?
 
Look at it this way,
believing the world can deliver what will satisfy our deepest spiritual longings
is like buying shoes that are four sizes too small
and then forcing ourselves to wear them
thinking eventually they will break in
and the pain will go away.
Aint going to happen!
 
As followers of Jesus we surely are part of something,
but it’s something otherworldly.
We are part of holiness….the holiness of God.
We participate in God’s created order of the universe.
That’s what holiness is…
living according to God’s ways of love and faith and hope and charity;
God’s ways of being connected to one another, concerned about one another,
promoting the good, the dignity, the integrity of one another.
 
In the story that is told about our life on this earth,
I hope there is a line that says
“as Jesus was walking by
he saw Don or Mary or Robert or Susan
busy about worldly things.
And Jesus said “follow me”.
And he or she got up and followed Jesus
leaving worldly attachments behind.”
 
Today’s prayer:  “O Lord, in Your Son Jesus Christ, You promise a future the world cannot give.  One with an everlasting ending.  Help us desire what you promise and follow where You lead.  Amen!”