Third Sunday of Ordinary Time A

Different Preparations

Joke: A priest came to visit a parishioner at Psychiatric Hospital. “You come over here,” a lady on wheelchair called him. He looked around and didn’t see any body beside and behind him. He asked her, “Are you calling me?” “Yes,” she replied. “Would you come over here please?” she asked. He came over and stood in front of her and said, “What can I help you?” She stared at him for a longest time and said, “Would you go away please?” At this, he understood what it meant to be in a psychiatric hospital.

Unlike the call of this lady who had unstable mind, Jesus, reported in today’s Gospel, called his first disciples to come to follow him. Unlike the lady didn’t know what she called the priest for, Jesus knew exactly why he called his first disciples to follow him. Why did Jesus call them to follow him? Why didn’t he call those educated and better men than these fishermen? Jesus called the fishermen to follow him first of all to be with him, to learn from his teaching, preaching, and having compassion towards those who were sick, who were outcast, and who were oppressed. He called them out of their ordinary life which was fishing to equip them to become the fisher of men. Jesus left Nazareth, his native land and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. He left his native land to come to these lands, the lands of the Gentiles who didn’t know God, so to fulfill what the prophet Isaiah mentioned in today’s first reading saying, “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,” the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.” Jesus was identified as the light that shined into darkness, scattered the darkness and attracted his first disciples to follow him.

Why did Jesus call the fishermen instead of the wise and educated people like Pharisees, scribes and Levi? Perhaps, fishermen were the hard working men that God called to equip them to be his instruments. Why was that when Jesus called his first disciples, they left everything to follow him? There was no short interview, nor short conversation with either one of them. Perhaps, they already heard about Jesus, and they opened up their simple minds and hearts to allow the words of others talking about Jesus to sink in their hearts and their minds that when Jesus called them, they just left everything and followed him.

Have you and I ever heard about Jesus Christ? Perhaps, we have heard people talked about him, and we read stories about him. We might have heard and seen many miracles happened through some good deeds of good and holy people. Some of us might experience the healing touch of God in our own life or in the life of our loved ones and friends. He walked into our brokenness of life and restored us and brought us happiness and peace. Have you and I ever experienced the presence of God in our life? How would we respond when we have experienced his call and his healing hands in our own life and the life of our loved ones? Before Jesus called his first disciples to come and to stay with him, he preached to them saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." In all that we have heard, seen, learned, understood, touched and experienced, what does it mean to repent? What does it mean to be the kingdom of heaven which is at hand? When we come up to receive Communion at Mass, have you and I believed that Jesus present in these two species of the bread and the wine? If we truly believed that he was present in these species, then the kingdom of God is, in facts, present in our life. If the kingdom of God is in our life, what would we need to repent? Or have you and I had anything to repent? How would you respond if the Lord Jesus come to call you at your work place, in your school, at your retirement home, in the bar, in the shopping mall, or wherever you are? Are we ready to follow him when he calls? 


Weekend Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Nguyen

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