Fr. Vic Gournas
January 24, 2021
3Sunday Readings: (Jonah 3:1-5,10; 1 Cor. 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20)
1. Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel.
-The word Gospel is found primarily in Mark and some of Paul’s letters.
-It refers to the person of Jesus.
-Is a written account of Jesus’ actions that are saving the world.
“This is the time of fulfillment, the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
-The Greek word used for time is not chronos (chronological time), but kairos, meaning a new time (a time of renewal).
-God desires to be present at each moment of our lives.
-The Kingdom refers to the person of Jesus Christ present in the world.
1.In the past when He took upon Himself our flesh.
2.And today via the Holy Spirit and the Sacramental life of the church.
-Thus, thru His Church, Jesus daily ”ushers” in a new era.
-In this new era Jesus desires a renewal of our hearts.
-Jesus picks ordinary men to become his first followers. Weak people.
-Our Lord is always on the lookout.
-How consoling to know that Jesus notices us in the humdrum of daily life.
-In the tedious ordinary circumstances of our lives Jesus seeks us.
-Renewal is found in responding to the presence of Jesus.
-In 1 Corinthians Paul is saying that renewal comes when we devote ourselves totally to God.
-Time (chronos) is passing away...Thus, we need to act now, today, so we can live and experience (kairos) Eternity...To never be separated from God.
-So it is seeking the presence of Jesus in our lives, even in our everyday actions.
-When we offer our decisions and actions to God daily in prayer, God desires to bring about our greater good...Jesus will not ask us to do something that is contrary to our good, or the good of our families.
-Seeking Jesus’ presence leads me to Jonah & our 1st reading.
2. I will focus on the fish story.
-The fish represents the nether-world: in contemporary language – death, and the spiritual realm.
-While in the belly of the fish Jonah feels separated from God’s presence.
-If God is true beauty, perfection, mercy, forgiveness, peace, justice, and love.
-Then Jonah feels separated from these things so important to our good.
-Jonah has been running from God’s will until the fish swallows him.
-Thus, Jonah on a deeper level has separated Himself from God’s full presence.
-While in the fish Jonah prays for God’s full presence and deliverance.
-The moment of salvation is when the Lord delivers Jonah from the fish.
-At this point of the story Jonah sings praises concerning his deliverance.
-As we can do in our own private and public worship. Especially at Mass.
-Repentance leads to God’s full presence in our lives.
-It is a turning away from those things that harm our relationship w/ God and neighbor.
-Pride, unforgiveness, greed, envy, immoral and unjust actions against self, and others – are to name just a few things harmful to our relationships.
-Participation in the Kingdom means that we turn from these things and seek the good.
When we seek the presence of Jesus (the Kingdom).
-We are called to repentance – to remove those things that are destructive.
-Jesus wants us to experience mercy, forgiveness, peace, justice, and love.
-He desires to help us experience a balance leading to serenity in our lives.
-To give us order amid the chaos...A new time (kairos).
-Jonah had to learn that God does not desire the destruction of his creatures, but their holiness and perfection (Jonah was upset - God forgives Nineveh who was the enemy of God’s people)...They repented and fasted down to the animals. Lol
-As fishers of men Jesus, in His love, allows ALL to participate in His mission of renewing the world as we share in His concern for seeking the good in our own lives, and in the lives of others...This is authentic selfless love.
3. I will end with this thought...Why reform must start with each of us.
-Why this nation & world needs (Christian) faith & religion to be present.
-This transcript is from a short 2 minute video:
Clay Christensen – A Harvard Professor recalls:
-In a conversation I had with a marxist economist from China coming to the end of a Fulbright fellowship in Boston, I asked what have you learned surprising or unexpected – without hesitation the marxist economist said:
I did not realize how critical religion was in the functioning of democracy.
Democracy works, not because the government is designed to oversee what everyone does.
But rather, Democracy works because - most people - most of the time - voluntarily do what is right and obey the law.
In the past most people attended a church, synagogue, or place of worship.
They were taught there by people they respected.
Americans followed the rules because they came to believe, not only were they accountable to society, but also accountable to God.
-He asked: what will happen to democracy if there is a continual decline in the influence of religion in the daily lives of Americans?
-Who will teach the next generation to seek what is truly the good and beautiful, and to see the importance of voluntarily obeying the rules for our good and the good of society.
My answer: We, in our homes, in our Catholic Schools, must teach the next Generation how important our Christian Faith is...That when we follow the path of virtue, God’s Natural & Eternal law, the 10 Commandments: Only then will we in our personal lives, and in the life of our Nation, EXPERIENCE TRUE PEACE & JUSTICE.
Jesus gave to Sr. Faustina the importance of praying for God’s Mercy & Conversion, not just for ourselves, but for the conversion of all sinners. Especially the souls in purgatory and in these times, those who appear to be opposed to Jesus’ Church and her teachings.
Father Vic Gournas