Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily 2-11-21

Homily for 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 2-11-21, Year B
Optional Mem – Our Lady of Lourdes
READINGS: 1st Gn 2:18-25; Gospel Mk 7:24-30
Theme: God, King of All Creation

You’ve heard the phrase, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you!.” This becomes true when we forget about those who helped us get to where we are today. It’s easy to begin to think that we ourselves were the creator and inspiration of our life’s achievements through our own power and initiative. We can get so caught up in our own self-driven desires and greed that we forget who got us to this point in the first place.

It’s like a salesman who demands of the company owner that he gets a promotion and more money, or he’ll leave because he is so good at what he does the company couldn’t do without him. Yet, it was the owner who trained him, gave him opportunities to excel over the years and even paid for his additional education to further his career at the company. Without the owner, the man wouldn’t be the great salesman he was.

Or, like a girl who became a successful musician, writing songs, singing, traveling the world, and raking in gold albums. She lives the best of the good life. But, back home her parents, struggling to make ends meet, wonder when their baby girl will come home or even call. It was that old guitar of her mother’s and the simple lessons she learned from her, and the love and encouragement to get over her stage fright from her father, that started her on her journey of success. Without her parents, there would not be a singing career at all.

Today’s sacred writers are reminding us to remember who created our very being. It is God that knit us in our mother’s womb and guides us here on earth through the good and bad times. It is God who gave us this life we live and the family and friends to share it with. He was the one who got us to where we are today.

The story of creation and the fashioning of man and woman by God is a lesson in who really feeds us both physically and spiritually. From simple elements of the earth God fashioned man and woman from one flesh. That is why a man and woman leave their parents, so they can become one flesh once again, going back to the origins of our creation by God himself. From one He made two and from two He makes one again with our cooperation.

Who are we to change this eternal and natural law of one man and one woman together as one, helping each other get to heaven? It would be best for us to remember who God is and the life He gave us.

The Syrophoenician woman, a pagan gentile nonetheless, knew this better than any learned, scholarly theologian of her time. She knew who Jesus was. She knew her very creation came from Him and because of this knowledge, knew anything was possible through Him, even the curing of her daughter.

She knew the truth and believed it with all her heart, mind, and strength.

We can learn a lesson from her and from the reminder in Genesis of the hand that created us, that feeds us.

We can learn from the Virgin Mother too, who works on our behalf to remind us of God’s creating hand in our lives by revealing herself to us from time to time. She did just that on this day in 1885 to Bernadette outside Lourdes, France. Among many things she revealed to Bernadette, she made sure to call us sinners to conversion reminding us of our place in God’s plan. When we believe and have faith in God through our Mother’s intercession, we experience the countless miracles wrought on our behalf, as has been the case at Lourdes ever since.

If we forget about God, we risk becoming conceited and self-righteous. We assume the mantel of God upon ourselves, and we begin to change God’s teaching and believe and do things alternatively to His plan. We can forget that He created us and, that we come from Him. We can forget that He gave us this life, the earth and all that it contains in order to dwell in love and happiness in union with Him. When we act in this way, contrary to God, we bite the hand that feeds us.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL