Jesus_The_Good_Shepherd_Byzantine_IconMy sisters and brothers in Christ,
On this Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, in Cycle B, the clear message is that we must change our ways. All of us get stuck in patterns of behavior that are not helpful in living lives completely in Christ. Our less than helpful patterns can be laziness on our part, or perhaps a fear of changing because what others might think, or possibly an addiction to something that is harmful to us or,
finally, perhaps pride that does not allow us to admit we are on a wrong path.
The first reading today is from the Prophet Jonah, who resisted God for all kinds of reasons, but mostly, it looks like, because he did not want to preach repentance to a people that he did not like. God is able to make us do His will but normally God invites us to do His will, rather than forcing us. For the Prophet Jonah, God finally forces him to do His will and Jonah begins preaching, hoping that the people will not listen to him. Instead, the people of Ninevah change their ways and Jonah is upset. He would rather that they rejected the word of God.

We can have the same feelings towards others at times, hoping that they won’t be faithful, hoping that they will reject the word of God, hoping that they will ultimately reject God–because we do not like them.

The second reading today, from the First Letter to the Corinthians, puts right before our eyes that the world in its present form is passing away. Many of the early Christians felt that the Second Coming would happen in their lifetime, but it did not. On the other hand, if we truly live the message of Jesus, this world is passing away even now because our way of living changes it.

We are not so good at that, for sure, but we keep trying. The Gospel brings us back to the need to change. Jesus invites his first followers to come with Him. Jesus invites us to follow Him as
well. We need at some level to have this personal encounter with the Lord, even though it will not be in the same way as these earlier followers who were able to touch Him, to hear Him, to see Him, in the flesh. We walk by faith. Yet we are still called, by faith, to touch Him, to hear Him and to see Him. In order to do this, we must change. The change we need is to live by faith and to touch by faith and to see by faith. It is not an easy change, because the world around us wants us not to believe, to touch or to see.
May Jesus Himself touch our hearts today so that we may touch Him. May Jesus Himself open our eyes today so that we may see Him. May Jesus Himself come into our hearts today to strengthen our faith. Help me, Lord Jesus!

Father Jesus