5TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
This weekend we celebrate the 5th Sunday of ordinary time on the 18th of February we begin the annual celebration of Lent on Ash Wednesday. It is so hard to believe that we are now into the second month of 2015 but time does not wait for anyone and that includes you and me. This weekend here in our diocese of Down and Connor we have the annual vocations weekend for those young men who are in the process of discernment for a vocation to the priesthood in our diocese. In my lifetime I have known many great and good priests and to my great regret I have also known a number of priests who turned out to be some of the rotten apples in the barrel! But despite all of this men and women young and not so young are still coming forward to join the priesthood and the religious life . We have a vocation as lay men and women and that vocation is to pray to the Lord that he will send labourers into his harvest. So many have become disheartened by what they see within the Church of recent times and our youth get this in a particular way, they are certainly no dozers. They sense what seems to be the tedium and the staleness about our religion and our practice of our faith. We are often told “Mass is so boring,”. Well, surely you won’t find much entertainment there—especially if you compare it to the fifty or more available TV and cable channels and the razzmatazz of pop culture.
We should not expect novelty and slickness from a sacred communal practice of faith, which has as its hallmarks of which great tradition, universality, and stability of form which is the Eucharist? We also need to remember that our future as the Church is not with the Golden Oldies on their own nor is the future with the young on their own or indeed any individual grouping within the church. Instead the future lies with the young and old with all the groups within the Church working together as the body of Christ the Church. All of us were young once and in our own time we were the future of the Church and now our sons and daughters, grand children nephews and nieces are now the future of the Church and in their turn their children will be its future and so the Church as Christ’s Body will continue. But the question for the here and now of our present time is how do we reconnect with all those who have left the Church Young Old and all the in-betweens. I was asked this question recently by a mother of a 16 year old who did not want to go to Mass at all she asked how do I get him to go to Mass when he really is not interested? we need to reconnect as Church with the people young and old where they are and not where we might want them to be.
In the Gospel Reading for this Sunday, Jesus comes to Peter’s house, he finds that Peter’s mother-in-law is sick, and he heals her. And then look what happens. The whole town hears of her healing and rushes all their sick to Peter’s house. The house is surrounded, and so is Jesus. Now, all of a sudden, Jesus seems to have become a one-man hospital the man who heals all their ills. He is so besieged that he can’t even pray in the house. He has to head out secretly into the countryside in the dark of morning. When his absence is detected, his disciples go looking for him. “Hey,” they say, when they find him, “Everybody is looking for you!” I honestly believe that today people of all ages are out there looking to find Jesus seeking to find the things of lasting value they are out there looking for Jesus and in their time and place they are finding him. Many have come to know that the things of God and the Spirit are built on solid foundations of the rock of faith instead of the things and values of the world that are built on sand and have no lasting value.
To all of you whoever you are wherever you are reading this I ask you to pray for vocations to all the varied states of life and living religious and otherwise. We remember that the definition of the word vocation include so many fields of work that are outside the religious sphere. In a few days time we begin Lent with the Ashes of Ash Wednesday and as part of our prayer time during the six weeks that are lent we might spare a prayer for all those who are searching for God and for all of us who have found him that all of us will be steady on the search and faith filled when we find God as Christians.