Spirit in the City

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Mass Times

  Sacred Heart St. Paul's Kateri Centre
 Sunday 09:30 AM 11:00 AM 11:00 AM
 Monday - Friday 08:30 AM
11:30 AM*
 Saturday 09:30 AM  -

*  Except Mondays


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4th SUNDAY B 2012

It is said that the following incident took place off the state of Massachusetts back in the early 50's. It was a stormy night at sea and a large battleship saw a light in the distance. The light was directly on the ship’s course. The captain of the ship was alerted and he sent a radio message out: “Light up ahead, bear ten degrees south.” The captain received the reply, "Sir, you must bear ten degrees North." The captain grew furious and got onto the radio himself and yelled, "I am Captain James Smith, that’s captain in the United States Navy. Whoever you are, I am ordering you to bear ten degrees south. Who are you, and what is your rank?" He heard the feeble answer, "This is Seaman First Class Howard Scott, Sir, you must bear ten degrees north." The captain barked out, “I am on the bridge of the Battleship USS New Jersey, and I am telling you to bear ten degrees south." Then he heard the reply, "But, Sir, I am in the Baker’s Island Light House, and you had better bear ten degrees North."

 A statement carries authority according to two aspects: who is speaking and what is being said. The captain had authority due to his rank. The seaman had authority due to what was said. Jesus had both.

Authority is much more than the right to tell others what to do or the power to make them do it. Authority flows from an inner conviction. It isn’t something imposed from outside but something that people recognize in you because of your own inner strength, assuredness, and confidence.

Jesus spoke with authority. What He said was true. He also had authority because of who He was.

He calls us to speak for Him. He gives us authority. For us to exercise this authority our words must speak the truth and we must live as committed Christians.

Many times our papers report religious scandals. Charismatic TV preachers, Roman Catholic bishops and priests, politicians caught in immoral activity or in ways that oppress the innocent.

The message that clergy had been delivering from their pulpits for years was true. Many people were moved to come closer to God. Many people confronted their own demons and took steps to draw closer to Christ. But then the scandal hit the papers. The message of the preacher that had moved them is still true, but now it has lost much of its impact. The one who delivered it was not true to his own words.   As a result, his credibility, his authority was terribly damaged if not totally destroyed.

Parents have authority due to their position in the family. God tells children to honor their mothers and fathers. That’s the Fourth Commandment. But the authority of parents is diminished or even destroyed when the parents act in ways that are not Christian. All parents want their children to be kind to each other. But if their children observe Mom and Dad being nasty and disrespectful to each other, their actions dilute their teaching.

We are not very happy to submit to authority today. We aren’t keen on trusting someone’s leadership just because of the role that person has. Whether the individual belongs to the police, the medical profession, law makers, teachers or clergy –all have to justify themselves.

People don’t accept anything today just because they are told it. They want to know why. A lot of questioning stems from abuse of power. The police have been caught out rigging evidence, or stealing evidence held for trial such as cocaine. Doctors have been found to have made wrong diagnose. Law makers have shown themselves to be corrupt. The wealthiest seeking the highest office in the US, are paying a paltry 14 % tax and using off shore tax havens for their treasure. Priests have looked after themselves and accepted donations from very suspicious sources.

Why do we accept the authority of some and refuse to give another authority? A person in authority must be a servant to the common good. AUTHORITY will only be maintained if the person in authority is truly a Servant .

To be an effective parent , priest , teacher , chief, politician ; one needs to be transparent . .. no hidden agendas . Those under your authority must be able to see through you and recognize that you are a person of integrity. You have no self interest but you are serving a greater goal. You are not building a self-serving empire.

I couple I knew, Ralph and Joyce, had 7 children. Joyce was a full time Mom and homemaker. She developed Alzheimers in her late 60's and gradually deteriorated. Ralph who was nearing retirement gave up his job and cared for Joyce. They bought a bicycle built for two so they could both go out and safely get exercise. He was her full time care giver for many years until eventually she had to be moved to an extended care facility. He spent time with her every day. If you visited Joyce when Ralph was there, it was so evident that she was deeply cared for. He continued to fully include her in conversations even though she didn't speak any more. At some level one just believed that she knew this was someone who really loved her. He was a great example to his children and to all who were a part of their lives.

If one would comment that he was such a good spouse, I’m sure he would simply respond, “I took vows.” And in those few words supported with a lifetime of action, they would teach more eloquently about marriage than any priest or preacher could possibly speak. The words of the vow teach truth, but the faithful service accepted in love shout it from the housetops. Jesus spoke with authority. He was not like the scribes and pharisees. He was not two faced. He was not hypocritical. He didn't have a dark side of his life that he kept hidden. He didn't just speak the truth, He was the Truth Incarnate. Jesus gave orders to unclean spirits, and they obeyed him.

Jesus is revealed to be the One who is sent to confront the Evil One, the power of evil throughout the whole world. He has come to reveal the authority of God over all creation and He is to call others and send them as well to reveal God’s love and authority.

A man with an unclean spirit presents himself to Jesus. This is Mark’s first manifestation or epiphany that Jesus is revealed as the One sent to confront such unclean, ungodly spirits.

He didn't call us just to do some of the things He did, He called us to be His presence for others. We are called to destroy evil in our world. We cannot do this unless we are determined to be Christ-like.


You are here: Sunday Homily FOURTH SUNDAY B JAN 29 2012