Hi everyone, and welcome to Weekly Homilies with Father Mark Suslenko, Pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. We are part of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. I'm Carol Vassar, parish director of communications, and you're listening to Season 4, Episode 8 for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: January 31st, 2021. Our Gospel reading is from Mark, Chapter 1, verses 21 through 28.
Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this?A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
The Gospel of the Lord
Who Inspires You to Faith?, by Rev. Mark S. Suslenko, Pastor, SS. Isidore and Maria Parish, Glastonbury, Connecticut
Who are the Moses people in your lives?
Let me further clarify. We all come to our faith with a journey that's a part of that coming. We all have a story to tell. Each one is different from the other. But I am sure that as you reflect on your own story of faith, what keeps you connected? What keeps you coming? What keeps you searching? What keeps you engaged?
You're going to see specific people who were inspirations and continue to be inspirations along that way. These are the folks that simply resonate with credibility; who have a sincerity about them - an authenticity - and yes, even an authority. Who are those people in your lives?
When it comes to spreading the faith, sharing the faith, and encountering the faith, it is not adequate to reduce that to words. It is not helpful or useful to tell people what they should be doing, shouldn't be doing, must be doing. Sharing the faith simply with our words often just falls on rocky ground.
The faith is spread and shared through the living witness of the Moses people. Those who seem to embody and hold their faith in God dear.
As you look at your own story of faith, I am sure that it is a story that is not written with a straight line. It's a story that involves doubts and fears, successes and failures, graced moments, and a good dosage of sin. Some of those stories involve facing a brick wall of being so low with nowhere to turn and no hope. Our faith stories involve encounters with God. Profound encounters that claim a truth about who we are and who God is, that engage us and captivate us.
And as we listen to the stories of our Moses people, those inspirational people in our lives, we hear those same words. That it is a lived experience. A lived experience of honesty that has encountered a God who profoundly loves them ,and who showers his mercy and his compassion upon them. That is what produces a credible witness. It is not the person who simply says all the right things, but the person who simply knows how to live life well in union with God.
Saint Oscar Romero had a profound thing to say. He said that when we leave Mass, we ought to leave like Moses descended Mount Sinai: with faith shining, and a heart brave and strong to face the difficulties of the world. With face shining and a heart brave and strong to face the difficulties of the world.
You see, as we gather here so often as we do, God reveals himself through his sacred scripture, through the wonderful gift of the Eucharist, but then also through the shared stories of everyone who is here, the inspirations that fill this room, the people who embody the faith. It is here in this community that God's presence can be felt so abundantly and so acutely. It is here within this community, nourished by word and sacrament, that the power of our faith becomes so real. You see the world doesn't need people to tell them what to do. The world needs people to show them what to do. To lead them and to guide them and to point them in a direction above and beyond what may be obvious to some.
As we had been touched by credible witnesses, as we have been touched by Moses people in our lives, we are also called to leave this church and be that inspiration, that credible witness to others. It is our task to bring the light and the life of our faith to a world that is desperately hurting. It is only through the example of our lives, that those who are lost and broken can find the light of faith. It is only through the example of our lives that people without hope can now have hope. It's only through the example of our lives that those so desperately in need of love can embrace it. But if we're so burdened and if we're so lost ourselves, that joy and that life is not going to flow over; it won't have the power. We need to trust that God is working in and through us, bringing us where we need to be. That our faith is the lamp that guides us, directs us and propels us forward to be credible witnesses of what we have received: the gift of life and love that comes only from God. And so how else can it be? Our faces must radiate with joy and our hearts must be brave and strong. Because if we've really, and truly been touched by all of the elements that come together in this sacred space, then we will truly then discover what Moses discovered on Mount Sinai. The very presence of God .
Father Mark Suslenko is the pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Learn more about our parish community www.isidoreandmaria.org. And follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Our music comes free of charge from Blue Dot Sessions in Fall River, Massachusetts. I’m Carol Vassar. Thanks for joining us.