January 14, 2018 Homily
  
One God, Many Gifts, One Spirit
A Reflection for the Second 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018  January 14, 2018
1 Samuel 3:3-19, Psalm 40,1 Corinthians 6:13-20, John 1:35-42
By Fr. Bob Johnnene OFM
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Mercy
Divine Mercy Parish Reformed Catholic Church
Hopkinton/Uton MA
www.missionstsergius.org
www.orderfranciscansofmercy.org
Divinemercyparish@msn.com

In the Gospel for this Sunday we hear John the Baptist call Jesus “The Lamb of God”. Upon hearing those words Andrew, and it is supposed John because throughout John’s entire Gospel he refrains from naming himself, began to follow Jesus.
The phrase “Lamb of God” is very special in Jewish tradition, since lambs were used in the sacrifice to God and in calling Jesus “The Lamb of God” it indicates that Jesus would be sacrificed for the greater honor and glory of God, forgiveness of our sins and the opening of the gates of heaven to all who believe and follow the Teachings of Jesus, “The Lamb of God”.
We are all called to follow and explore ways that we, who God has called just as the first 2 disciples in the Gospel story felt called within their heats to follow Jesus, to come together as God’s servants and find ways  to better serve ALL God’s children. We profess to believe and follow the teachings of Christ so therefore we are called to serve the diverse cross section of God’s children where ever we encounter them, regardless of race, nationality, sexual orientation of even religious affiliation.  
Another good question we might ponder, is why is it that some, supposedly good priests, fail to Baptize a child just because it was born out of wedlock. Pope Francis had this to say on that Subject; “there are priests who don't baptize the children of single mothers because they weren't conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today's hypocrites. Those who clericalize the church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation”.
Paul’s letter to the Romans has given us the path of being truly Christ like.
It states that, just as the human body has many divergent parts each part has a unique function within the whole, so it is also with the Mystical Body of Christ, THE CHURCH. There are many parts that make up the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  We all have been called by God to be His representative here on earth and to serve ALL His Children proclaiming God’s infinite mercy and love and by example show that love through cooperation and compassion and humility. We therefore need to come together in unity and a Christ like spirit of cooperation. We need to be shining beacons of light to lead those who have felt unwanted or excluded back to claim their rightful place within the Mystical Body of Christ. 
Regarding Christian unity Pope Francis said this in his homily @ Casa Santa Marta on October 24, 2014; “The task of every Christian is to build “the unity of the Church. as Christians, we are also tasked with “building the unity of the Church." “When constructing a temple or a building, the first thing ones does is find suitable land,” “Then one lays the cornerstone, the Bible says. And the cornerstone of the unity of the Church, or rather the cornerstone of the Church, is Jesus and the cornerstone of the unity of the Church is Jesus' prayer at the Last Supper: 'Father, that they may be one!'. And this is its strength!”, only through the grace of the Holy Spirit that one is capable of constructing this unity.
We know that when one part of our body is not functioning properly, the entire body suffers.  So, it is with the church.  Throughout history we have seen the church split apart over matters that have absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of Christ but with manmade regulations that were created to gain control, power and wealth.  This should not be our way and must come to an end.
God, in His wisdom, grants every person special gifts.  Who are we, as imperfect mortals, to criticize someone for the way they pray or offer honor and praise to God?  Isn’t there only one God, the God of Abraham, Iaasic, Jacob and the creator of all things?
Paul’s letter also goes on to tell us not to pretend to love someone, but to really love them with genuine affection.  It clearly states that Hate is wrong.  We are told to work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically, be generous, and bless those who persecute you.  Most importantly we are told to work in harmony with each other and, “Do all that you can to live in peace with every one!”   Living in peace means finding ways to work in harmony with one another for the greater good of all. 
Pope Francis had this to say about peace and how it is being violated everywhere;
 “Tragically, peace continues all too often to be violated. This is the case in so many parts of the world where conflicts of various sorts continue to rage. It is also the case here in Europe, where tensions persist. Yet peace is also put to the test by other forms of conflict, such as religious and international terrorism, which displays deep disdain for human life and indiscriminately reaps innocent victims. This phenomenon is unfortunately bankrolled by a frequently unchecked traffic in weapons.
The Church is convinced that the arms race is one of the greatest curses on humans and the harm it inflicts on the poor is more than can be ‘endured.’ Peace is also violated by trafficking in human beings, the new slavery of our age, which turns persons into merchandise for trade and deprives its victims of all dignity. Not infrequently we see how interconnected these phenomena are. … Peace is not merely the absence of war, conflicts and tensions.
In the Christian vision, peace is at once a gift of God and the fruit of free and reasonable human acts aimed at pursuing the common good in truth and love.”
Paul’s letter and Pope Francis Statement challenges us to rethink the way we have been working and make the changes necessary to be more cooperative and Christ like as God’s representatives and servants.
Just as the seraphic Father of all Franciscans, St. Francis and many other holy persons who attempted to speak out against excess of the clergy found out It requires a lot of faith in God and strength to fight the need for power, control, wealth and focus our energies on the needs of God’s children.
May Almighty God, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, open our hearts, minds and souls as we explore ways for us to become more like Christ, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Brother Roger of Taize, Mother Therese of Calcutta and the other great people who preached co-operation, compassion, Ecumenism, non-violence, charity and brotherhood for ALL God’s Children all over the World and inspire us to come together in unity of service and support under a common goal.   AMEN