From My Point of Pew: 01.19.14

Readings for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Timeholyspiritdove.

From Fr. Jim’s homily – he started by emphasizing how important it is to realize God’s gift to us in our very existence. We must recognize the dignity that each person has and the dignity that we have just by being human. To never ignore someone or pretend they don’t exist. That’s why he says hi to everyone he comes across as he walks down the aisles at the grocery store. Because it’s the only thing he can do, recognize that they exist and are standing right next to him.  And through Baptism we are transformed from ordinary people to people of God. People that have a calling and a mission. Part of everyone’s mission is to recognize the dignity of each person. But imagine if every Christian in the world understood his/her individual vocation and then actually lived it.

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  1. From the same homily, I dazed through the bulk of the homily, if I’m going to be honest. In addition to Vanessa’s point about recognizing the dignity of each person, Fr. Jim made a point of the line from the Gospel, because he existed before me. From the Annunciation, we know that Elizabeth was six months into her pregnancy when Jesus was conceived, so the Baptizer’s statement here is pointing to the higher truth of Jesus’ existence from the beginning of time.

    In that sense, he is serving as the last “Old Testament” prophet, preparing people for what is to come in Jesus, by proclaiming that Jesus is not just any other prophet, but the Son of God.

  2. In the homily I heard today, the priest focused on the testimony John the Baptist gave, and our important role as Christians to continue to be witnesses, to testify by our actions and our unity. He tied in Martin Luther King, Jr., and also mentioned the March for Life that will happen this week.

  3. And just for good measure, the joke Fr. Jim said at the end of Mass – A husband went to the doctor with his wife. The doctor pulled the wife aside and told her: your husband is sick and he needs your help. You will need to make him a big hearty bfast every morning, and of course a well-balanced lunch and dinner that is served right when he gets home from work. You should not burden him with household chores, he should rest and relax as much as possible. In the car on the way home the husband asked the wife what the doctor had told her. The wife replied: You’re going to die.

  4. Today the priest explained how he forms his hand in the shape of a dove over the host as he is calling the Holy Spirit down to consecrate it. He also explained that in the eastern churches they actually flap a cloth near the celebrant to symbolize the Holy Spirit as the descending dove. I had never before connected the moment of Christ’s baptism with the consecration at Mass. Not only was it wonderful to learn about this meaningful detail of the Mass, but I love it when our faith ties together two seemingly distinct concepts that helps me to see and understand each more fully.

  5. A couple of circumstances has led my wife and I to go to a Spanish language Mass the last two weekends. My Spanish is only good enough to have slow conversations supported by a lot of gesture. I’ve been really struggling to follow the homily – the priest seems really energetic but he talks so fast I can’t make much of it. The one part I grasped today was about how the early Corinthians’ Christian community was at a cultural mix of Greek and Mediterranean influences or something?

    I think my big take-away this week was about contextual understanding of language. For most of the Mass, since I’ve been to Masses in Spanish before, I can follow along. But after Communion today, the priest gave a special reflection and talked for a few minutes with some soft music in the background, and I had no. idea. what he was saying! It made me think: how much of what we hear is just understood because we expect to hear it? And, when we start hearing something unexpected, how little do we understand it?

    My other big takeaway was this: how ludicrous would it be to claim that you’re the Son of God? Since I have been raised Catholic it has always made sense to me to read Jesus’ and John the Baptist’s explanation of Christ as the Son of God, but imagine if you had never heard of Him before. Imagine if some ordinary old carpenter in your town went to your parish and announced himself as the Son of God? That would be… unbelievable.

  6. A lot of the What I Wore Sunday participants talk about this kind of thing in their posts. I did in mine!

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