Thursday, January 21, 2016

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Welcome to read homilies for the Sundays of the year. These are sample homilies which you can read with devotion. You may use them in your own homilies without asking my permission. You may also change or edit these to fit them to your audience. A unique quality of these homilies is that they are Christ-filled. From beginning to end they present to us some aspect of Jesus so that beholding his glory we “are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NAB).

Unerring Guidance

There are two things Jesus is completely different from us although he is completely human like us. One is that he is completely sinless while we are completely sinful. The other is that he was and is completely guided by the Holy Spirit while we are guided by so many other influences besides that of the Holy Spirit. We are guided by our reason, by our taste, by our perception of the need to be attended to, by the requests of other people. Some of us are even guided by the horoscope. Others are guided by their traditional beliefs and supersitions. But Jesus was guided only by the Holy Spirit. And it was an unerring guidance. The Holy Spirit could not commit a mistake in guiding Jesus. And Jesus could not commit a mistake because he completely followed this guidance.

This is what we find in our Gospel reading today. We heard that Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee. It means that the Holy Spirit guided him to return to Galilee. It was not because Jesus wanted to display his miraculous power also in his hometown that he went back there. It was the action, or as the Gospel says, it was the power of the Holy Spirit which led him to go back to Galilee.

In the synagogue Jesus read that portion in the prophecy of Isaiah which says, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. The Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit was always with Jesus to guide him unerringly so that he never committed any mistake in his life.

In the discourse during the last Supper Jesus called the Holy Spirit Paraclete (John 14:16). The word "paraclete" comes from the original Greek word "parakleytos" which basically means "called alongside or beside", like an advocate in a court trial, called to defend the one accused. It has come to mean "comforter" in other translations of the bible. But our bible translation has preserved the Greek sounding word, parakleytos.

What Jesus meant was that this Paraclete would be beside us to guide us. As he himself said, the Paraclete will guide us to all truth (John 16:13). This was the Spirit who guided Jesus to return to Galilee from Jerusalem. This was the Spirit who was upon Jesus to make him proclaim in the synagogue that he was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah.

There was no occasion when Jesus could have said, I should not have done that. Even in his choice of Judas as an apostle he did not regret it as a mistake. He did not say and could not say, I should not have chosen Judas because he would betray me. He was completely guided by the Holy Spirit in his choice of his apostles as in all his other activities.

As the second person of the Trinity Jesus was always united to the Holy Spirit. But as man it was a different matter. He was not a robot. He was human. He could have committed mistakes, like us. But he never committed a mistake because his human thoughts and desires were always guided by the Spirit of God.

Jesus is still human but he is now exalted as Lord of all. This is what is meant when we profess in our Creed that he sits at the right hand of God. He governs the universe now and he still has this unerring guidance of the Holy Spirit. He does not commit a mistake in governing us.

Some people may think that he has forgotten us or is not doing well as Lord of all because of the evils we experienced in history and the increasing evils today. No, Jesus is in complete control of our world. 

A friend of mine, Rene Awitin OCDS, sent me an SMS or text which gave the word DEATH as an acronymn for the evils we experience today. He said that DEATH means the evils of divorce, euthanasia, abortion, terrorism, and hedonistic birth control. Yes, these evils are increasing every day. But it does not mean that Jesus has lost the unerring guidance of God's Spirit to take care of all these evils.

Jesus already predicted that evil would continue to multiply (Mt. 24:12). Evil is like fire. It goes on with greater and greater conflagration as long as it has material to burn until it consumes itself.

Today as in the time of Jesus' earthly life we can join the crowd who exclaimed, "He has done all things well" (Mk. 7:37).

The same unerring guidance that Jesus had from the Holy Spirit is still ours today if we allow this Spirit to guide us. I like that prayer which our sociology professor Fr. Leo Cullum, S.J., always recited before his class. We will say that prayer as we end this reflection.
Let us bow down our heads to pray. Direct we beseech you, O Lord, all our actions by your holy inspiration and carry them on by your gracious assistance so that every thought, word and work of ours may always come from you and by you be happily ended. Amen.

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