Homily ·Ordinary time
By Archbishop Gomez
Church of the Good Shepherd, Beverly Hills, CA
January 22, 2017

My brothers and sisters in Christ,1

As I said, I’m very happy to be with all of you today for this celebration of the Eucharist on our Sunday liturgy. It is always a special joy to be together as a family of God around the altar in celebration of Mass on Sundays.

So, as you know, first of all, our prayers worked because we got so much rain. So I don’t know if we should continue to pray — maybe we should just in case.

So it’s a blessing that God is giving us rain.

And as you know this is a big weekend, a time of transition in our country. So I thought it was timely that we heard those words of St. Paul in our second reading, telling us that we should have no divisions among us, that we should be “united in the same mind and in that same purpose.”

I think it’s timely advice for all of us during this moment in our country. Yesterday we had the great pleasure to be at Exposition Park for our third-annual OneLife LA celebration — maybe some of you were there, too. And that event is kind of a movement for social change. And it gives me hope for our city and for our country. It is an event to celebrate life. Because we are there together, all of us as brothers and sisters, children of God united in solidarity to celebrate and protect all human life — from conception to natural death.

We have so many challenges in our society nowadays regarding life. Again, from the beginning to the end. So I think St. Paul’s advice is wonderful in this time in our country. So let us especially pray for our country these days — that we continue to be that beautiful reality of a society that we are together for the glory of God and the good of the people of God in our country.

So as we reflect today on the Scripture readings and especially the passage of the Gospel, let us also keep praying for our country and for a greater sense of unity and common purpose.

In our Gospel reading this Sunday tells us of the beginning of Jesus’ mission.

And in the first reading of today’s Mass, Jesus tells us that he is the light of world.

“The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”

Jesus brings his light wherever there is darkness. And in his light we find — that the shadows of death are scattered, that new life begins. Begins everywhere Jesus is.

I think it is also interesting, in the passage of Gospel, that today we hear about Jesus choosing his first followers. And I was thinking, when I was this week reading the Gospel for this Sunday, I was thinking about what kind of people these Apostles are.

They are not rich and powerful people. They are not the lawyers or the doctors or the scribes or the religious professionals of their time.

It’s interesting because instead, Jesus reaches to ordinary working people. He goes down by the seashore, where the fishermen are working.

Think about it. For these men in the Gospel today — that day, it was just another day. They were busy at work, out on their boats. Two of them were out on the ocean casting their nets, the other two were back on the shore mending their nets.

Just another day, and then — into their lives — comes Jesus. And he has an invitation for them: “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men,” and fishers of women, too.

We had a lot of women yesterday, everywhere. That’s wonderful — I know what it is because I have four sisters and no brothers. Between my mother and my four sisters, I know about it. It’s wonderful, I have said that they always spoiled me — I can’t complain

What is interesting to me, going back to the passage of the Gospel, is that Jesus comes to them — where they are working. The Gospel says he is just “walking by” — when he sees them.

And my dear brothers and sisters, the Lord is still passing in our lives.

And Jesus is calling you and me. Just like he called Simon and Andrew and James and John. And just as we see in the Gospel today — Jesus is calling us in the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives.

And like the Apostles, we can meet Jesus — he’s always there and he’s looking at us. He’s calling us to seek him, to come after him. he calls us in the people we met — in the people that God sends our way everyday.

Isn’t it amazing? Jesus comes to us where we are at.

The challenge for us is to make sure that we are looking at him, we have to keep our hearts open to receive him.

It’s true, Jesus calls each one of us to follow him. We don’t have to be “special” people in order to receive that call from Jesus.

And he wants us to join him in the beautiful adventure of living for God, of living for God’s kingdom. Jesus wants us to follow him on the pathway of love, the pathway of service to our sisters and brothers.

And he does not call us to leave our work, or turn our back on our families, or just to move somewhere else, or be totally different. Just the opposite.

He’s calling us to follow him through our families and through our work. In our ordinary daily life.

And the truth is that we can make every moment of every day into a pathway for following Jesus. So when you are at home, with your children or your wife or your husband, or when you are at work or with your neighbors or at school. Always. Every moment, you have a chance to follow Jesus.

You have a chance every moment to serve God!

It’s true! It’s not just something that happened 2000 years ago — Jesus calling his disciples — it’s still happening today! When we really think about it and understand what God wants for us.

So, I think we have a few things to reflect on this week in our lives. So this week, let us really try to be more sensitive to God’s presence. Let’s ask ourselves during the day — what is Jesus calling me to do in this moment? How can I help him to bring the light of his hope to other people?

My brothers and sisters, that’s what life is all about! Knowing God. Knowing his love for us. Knowing that Jesus loves us so much that he was willing to die for us — and that now he is by our side living with us. Once we understand that and feel that, then our whole life changes! To know that Jesus is walking with us in our lives, that he is there to guide us, to enlighten us! To make our lives better — much better than anybody else! He really is mine — that gives meaning to our lives.

So it is, indeed, a beautiful way to live.

Let’s think about that this week, and be more aware of that beautiful call that we have to be apostles — disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

So let’s ask Our Blessed Mother Mary to help us — she is the Mother of Jesus and she is the Mother of all of us. Let us continue to pray for our country and let us ask Our Blessed Mother to help us all of us to follow Jesus and to hear his voice in our lives. And always say yes!

1. Readings (Third Sunday in Ordinay Time, Year A): Isa. 8:23–9:3; Ps. 27:1, 4, 13–14; 1 Cor. 1:10–13, 17; Matt. 4:12–23.

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