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Homily for January 16, 2022 – The 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

The 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

“For Zion’s sake I will not be silent. For Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet” (Is. 62:1). We have been inundated with bad news. There has been a fair amount of fake news. We have had plenty of politically manipulated news. What the world needs now is the Good News. And the Good News is, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). For the sake of a world torn apart by prejudice and hate, I will not be silent. The love of God that fills our hearts is greater than the hatred that is tearing the world apart. For the sake of the Body of Christ, Church, that is fragmented, I will not keep silent. God is One and the love of Christ is stronger than anything that divides us. The Light of Christ is brighter than the darkness that envelops us. Because the world has been deafened by shouts of angry protest and sounds of gunshots, each of us needs to extend a reassuring hand to our neighbors that makes God’s unfailing love real and tangible.

For the sake of migrants who have been denied entrance and have no place to lay their heads, I will not be silent. For the sake of people who find life a burden too heavy to bear and struggle with suicidal thoughts, I will not be quiet. In Christ, the God who said, “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you” (Is. 41: 10) has become our traveling companion as we journey through life. The Beloved Son extends the compassion of the Father to all who are overwhelmed and feel they cannot go on. The Word of God speaks to the depths of their hearts, “Come to me, all you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mat. 11:28). The Lord who calls us to himself assures us that he will be with us all the days of our lives (CF Mat. 28:20). Because of his great love for us, Christ has made himself our resting place and rock of refuge. In him, the words spoken by Isaiah find fulfillment, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and release from darkness for those in bondage” (Is. 61:1).

God who created us and then redeemed us by the victory of his Son over sin and death takes great delight in us. He rejoices to be our God and Father. It is with the assurance of God’s infinite and abundant loving kindness that I will not be silent. With the prophet, I raise my voice in prayer and speak in the name of our God. My brothers, as members of this monastic community we are called to be watchmen on the walls of the Heavenly Jerusalem. “I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem. They will never be silent either by day or by night. While they live, they will give themselves to unabated toil in proclaiming the wonders of God” (Is. 62: 6). We have kept the watches of the night, now we must awaken the world to the dawning of a new day. As the sun rises over the horizon, the brilliant light of morning will spread over hill and vale and illuminate the whole world. The people who had been “Forsaken” will come to realize that they are the objects of God’s delight. The land that was “Desolate” will find itself espoused and vibrant with hope. God keeps seeking out the lost and extending forgiveness. God desires to share intimacy with us because he wants to save us from ourselves. God has given us a new name as his beloved children let us sing a song that blesses his name.

The gospel passage recounted how Christ was invited to a wedding feast. God is an extravagant host and provides a banquet of savory food, choice, rich wine. Today we have been invited by Christ to partake of the wedding feast of the Lamb. Unlike the limited fare at the wedding feast of Cana, the food and drink at the banquet of the Lamb are superabundant. At Cana, the wine was running out. At the Banquet of the Lamb, Christ becomes our food and drink, sufficient to satisfy our every need. The wine at Cana was intended to gladden the revelers’ hearts. The banquet of the Lamb is intended to draw all who eat and drink into communion with the Triune God. At the Banquet of the Lamb, Christ becomes the supersubstantial bread that allows us to live forever. We have only to remember Jesus’s words, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry again, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty again” (Jn. 6:35).

Today’s readings begin and end with a wedding theme. The first reading spoke of God’s covenant relationship with his people. This relationship was eloquently described by the prophet Hosea. “I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will respond to me with loving faithfulness” (Amos 2:19-20). The gospel reading recounted the presence of the Lord at the wedding feast in Cana. God celebrates the love of husband and wife because it reflects the bond of love within the Trinity.

For mankind’s sake, I will not be silent. For Our Loving Father’s sake, I will not be quiet. The world needs to know that God is a generous and prodigal lover. As the messenger of the Father’s love for the human race, the Only-begotten Son has stretched out his nail-scarred hands to show us that he has all our names tattooed on his palms. Because he hates to eat alone, the God of Love has prepared a banquet for us and has sent his servants to invite everyone to the feast. “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed” (Pro 9:5). The Bread of life has been baked in the fire of Divine Love. The wine has been trodden in the winepress of the Sacred Heart.

Let us lift up our eyes to Christ with hope in our hearts. Let us cling to him “who though he was rich became poor for our sake so that through His poverty we might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). May we be so enlightened by the glory of God that is seen in the face of Christ that the words of John XXIII will be reflected in our lives. “I put my eyes in your eyes. I put my heart close to your heart”.