Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wednesday word, 06 September 2006

22d Wednesday of the Year B (06 Sep 2006) 1Co 3. 1-9; Ps 33; Lk 4. 38-44
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Jesus’ Pattern Is Our Pattern

Jesus performed another healing-exorcism, this time a fever not a demon and this time from a woman, Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. Luke had female counterparts to men in his gospel.

Jesus did not heal on a whim. Jesus was christened with God’s spirit: the Lord’s spirit is upon me to proclaim liberty to captives and sight to the blind. Christened with God’s spirit, Jesus was faithful to prophetic words he made his own. Christened with God’s spirit, Jesus allowed the Spirit to draw the pattern of his life, even to giving his life.

This was St. Paul’s distinctive insight: the particulars of Jesus’ earthly life are past and cannot be repeated. His historical particulars are in a way irrelevant Very relevant is the pattern of Jesus’ life: responding to the Spirit shaping his life as one of faithful attention to God and service to others.

Not only relevant: that is timeless and ever-present. It is the reason that we are to be modest when it comes to our religious practice. To make a show of our gift of Jesus’ spirit is to act as if God’s gift of Jesus’ spirit was not a gift but our achievement: the reason why Paul told the Corinthians, I planted, Apollos watered but God caused the growth. Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth.

Paul promptly addressed the Corinthians’ difficulties, beginning with their jealousy and rivalry among them. Factions are the first sign people are obstinate to the spirit of Jesus. We might take Simon’s unnamed mother-in-law as our patroness: ask her to intercede for us and beg Jesus to drive away what makes us fevered and reshape us as clearer images of him today.

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