Sacred and Profane, Nazareth
By: Deacon Bill Frere
Homily for Saturday January 22 2022
Gospel – Mark 3:20-21
My favorite comic strip of all time, hands down, is Calvin and Hobbes! Even though Bill Watterson stopped producing originals about 20 years ago, I still get my daily dose of craziness every morning and it brings a chuckle to start the day. I mean, what kid (even a rather grown up kid like myself) doesn’t identify with Calvin and all his (mis)adventures! His battles with his parents, his long-suffering babysitter and his teacher Mrs. Wormwood! His escapades as Spaceman Spiff! His rather psychotic snowmen and his suicide sled. Case in point, today’s strip has these lines of dialogue as Calvin sits at the top of the hill. “Go ahead down; you’ll miss all those trees! You can do it; you’ll stop before you go over that ledge at the bottom. You won’t go into the pond; besides, the ice is probably real think anyway. My brain is trying to kill me!”
Haven’t we all had our insane adventures in our youth? That impossible obstacle course? That bicycle ramp that we thought would help us fly (no thought of how we might land)! Climbing that impossibly tall tree, especially after getting to the top and realizing we were afraid of heights! We are all a bit crazy!
Crazy! Out of His mind! That is what we hear the people of Capernaum call Jesus! And aren’t they correct? He speaks to demons and casts them out. He now has a following of 12 men, most of whom are simple fishermen and neighbors, poor and uneducated who have left home and family to follow Him. He eats with tax collectors and sinners and has the gall to interact with lepers and women! He preaches love of neighbor, of enemies and even Gentiles and Romans! He says to call God our Father! Don’t judge! Turn the other cheek! Take care of the poor and live out the Beatitudes! Crazy! Seriously crazy!
And yet, when you think about it, aren’t we all a bit crazy? To be a practicing Christian in this world of power and greed, selfishness and excess, is it that hard to imagine that the rest of the world sees us as out of our minds?
No one ever said being Christian would be easy! Christianity preaches a radical message of love and respect for all people, all life. It calls us to live a self-less life and believe that suffering is redemptive and transformative. Bishop Barron once reflected that “it is not about modernizing the Church but it’s about Christifying the world.” That means staying faithful to Jesus’ message in spite of a world that challenges our beliefs at every turn and mocks Christianity as being too difficult, too outdated, too impractical to follow.
So here’s to the craziness in all of us who call ourselves disciples of Christ!
And while we are there, let us offer up a prayer to the Creator of all life, on this Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.
God our Creator, we give thanks to you, who alone have the power to impart the breath of life as you form each of us in our mother’s womb; grant, we pray, that we, whom you have made stewards of creation, may remain faithful to this sacred trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Collect Prayer for the Day
Deacon Bill Frere