Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Second Sunday of Lent – February 28, 2021

Genesis 22: 1-2,9a,10-13, 15-18 – Romans 8: 31b-34 – Mark 9: 2-10

 

During the Season of Lent this year we will recall a series of covenants that God established between God and mankind as they are recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible. Last week we heard about Noah and the rainbow which was the sign of the covenant God confirmed with him. This week it is Abraham who is held before us.

 

Although Abraham was promised that he would have innumerable descendants now he was called upon to sacrifice he only son by Sarah his wife. In what was a tragic demand that was made on him, Abraham maintained his trust in God. Abraham placed his hope for the fulfillment of the promise made to him in God. The result of Abraham’s hope and trust in God was a new covenant established with God. As the covenant with Noah had brought about a new beginning of creation, so the covenant with Abraham was the beginning of a new people, a people who would be in a close relationship with God. Abraham’s’ hope and trust were thus rewarded.

 

Hope is also a them found in the other passages from Scripture that we heard today. Paul tells the Christians at Rome and us that if God is with us, and we are with God, we have made the right choice in our lives There is no reason to be afraid. Nothing can defeat us. Nothing can overwhelm us. The account of the Transfiguration of Jesus as told to us by Mark was an event that was to give hope. It was an experience to be recalled by Peter, James and John when they faced the betrayal, the condemnation and the execution of Jesus on the cross. It was to give the hope when they were confronted with apparent defeat.

 

Hope is both basic and central to being a Christian. Today we have recalled Abraham, listened to Paul, and heard of the Transfiguration of Jesus. This is to encourages us to look to ourselves, especially at times like these which so easily give rise to doubts and question, times that easily lead to pessimism and negativity. As believers in Jesus Christ, we must believe, firmly trust, firmly hope firmly that no matter what surrounds us God and God’s plan to be known and to be revealed will succeed. What could be more tragic than for man to be called on to kill his son, yet Abraham maintained his hope. What could be a more contradictory sign than the cross, yet our faith declares that the cross is to be the instrument of our salvation and victory.

 

Negativism, pessimism, and despair have no place in the life of a true Christian. No matter the tragedy, the seeming defeat, the incurable suffering, our faith, our trust, our hope, based on the Resurrection, is to be firmly placed in God.

 

Lent is the time to considered more deeply what it means to renew what was a promised at our Baptism. It is a renewal not only of the content of what we believe, but also a renewal of our commitment to living that faith. We do this despite all that we experience in life as individuals and as a society. We do this despite all that we might see around us. We do this despite how much in our world has been affected by the pandemic. We do this because our faith, our trust, our hope is in a truly good and gracious god.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Sixth Sunday of the Year – February 14, 2021

Leviticus 13: 1-2, 44-46 – 1 Corinthians 10: 31 – 11:1 – Mark 1: 40-45

 

Jesus told the man with leprosy to do what Moses prescribed. What that was we heard from the first reading from the Book of Leviticus. Restriction on an individual afflicted with leprosy were demanding. A distancing from other persons and, in fact, from the whole community, was required. It is easy to understand these restrictions because of the very nature of the disease. Leprosy was considered to be a very visible sign of sinfulness. It was identified with the plagues of Egypt which included boils which appeared o the skins of the Egyptians. The boils were viewed as a sign of the rejection of God’s call to allow the Chosen People to leave their slavery. Thus leprosy was considered a very evident sign of an individual’s sinfulness and rejection of God. It signified not only a physical affliction but also a spiritual one as well.

 

The inclusion of this incident in the Gospel of Mark is somewhat unusual. In the beginning parts of his gospel, he emphasizes that Jesus was being surrounded by many followers, or even crowds of people. In contrast, in this instance, Jesus encounters the man with leprosy on a one-on-one basis. Jesus is not only present to this person, he actually touches him, a gesture that was strictly forbidden. In a merciful way, Jesus looks with pity on the man and, In touching him, Jesus goes beyond what he had done in previous miracles.

 

This story suggests asking ourselves two questions. Where and how is Christ encountered? What ought we keep in mind about living out and practicing what we believe?

 

We encounter Christ in the midst of our own lives, day-to-day, even in the ugly rather than in the world where everything is right and beautiful and attractive. We encounter Christ in weakness, sinfulness, failure – as in the man afflicted with leprosy. We encounter Christ not simply in success such as the wonder or miracles displayed but also as learned from the gospels, in the ugliness of betrayal, condemnation and execution on a cross. We encounter Christ in a direct way, even in physical contact, such as in the sacramental way in which we touch, we see, we hear when we come together as a community at worship.

 

The encounter of Jesus with the man with leprosy and his restoration by Jesus not only to his physical health but also to the community as a whole encourages us, once again, to go forth from this time of reflection, prayer and worship of God restored and renewed in our faith so that we can announce in our lives a confident love and trust in a good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Fourth Sunday of the Year – January 31, 2021

Deuteronomy 18: 15-20 – 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35 –  Mark 1: 21-28

 

According to the account that is presented to us in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus received a favorable response, at least from most in attendance at the synagogue where he spoke. We are told that they were “amazed” because his approach was different from what they had experienced from those who had been teaching them all their lives

 

What was different? Those who were present at the synagogue had heard, time and again, what they were required to do. Apparently, though, those who constantly repeated this to them did not reflect what they taught in the way that they lived. Other Gospel writers report that Jesus readily called them hypocrites. On the other hand, Jesus would not only teach, he would also act as well. In this particular instance, the man who was possessed, who was mentally disturbed, was restored to health by the presence and action of Jesus.

 

That was then. What about now, in our world today? The presence of Jesus Christ in the world is to be found in us. The Body of Christ in the world today is us, the Church We are not only to speak the words, but we are also to act in accordance with these words. In fact, how we live out our Faith is to be “amazing.”

 

Both word and action are essential to what we are and what we are to be as believing Christians. It all begin here and now in what we are doing as we gather for the Eucharist. We hear our God speak to us in the Scriptures. Then God acts for us in the sharing of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. For these moments, then, we experience the amazing love of our God in both word and action. But it does not end there. We are to go forth from here to act in response to our belief, nourished by the loving word of our God as well as nourished by the Real Presence of our God we receive.

 

We go forth into our world to carry out the ministry of Christ. As the Body of Christ in our world today, we are to show in our lives sentiments such as those we heard expressed from Moses. The presence of God is to be experienced in our own daily lives not in thunder and lightening, not in fire and smoke, but in the healing and reconciling lives of the Gospel being lived.

 

How that presence of God is to be shown in our lives can also be learned from the counsels of Paul that we have heard. We are to be free from anxieties about immediate concerns because our values about what is truly important are are derived from a conviction of God’s love demonstrated in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on our behalf. It is this overall conviction of faith and trust in God that guides us in knowing that there is nothing in this world that is to distract us from our God.

 

People were amazed to hear Jesus teach. They were amazed that he did matched what he said by the healing of one who was so painfully disturbed. So it is to be with us, the Body of Christ in the world today as We are to speak and to act in our live in what might be considered amazing ways in reflecting the reality of a good and gracious God.