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Homily for 5th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B, 2024

Today in Australia is Word of God Sunday. This is a bit of a strange label, like calling a particular Sunday, Jesus Sunday. Every Sunday is Word of God Sunday. Every day is a celebration of the Word of God because nothing can exist but for the Word of God.


Previously, we have seen how the Word of God acts in the Eucharist. The dialogue between the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit, extended to us in the act of creation. How the Word in creating seeks to take flesh, and to gather up everything in order to offer it to the Father. How we are invited to participate in this by our lives, as Deacon Jim often states in the dismissal.


Today we see that same dynamic in our readings, with the added element, of the Word in seeking to make creation its home, healing fallen creation. Further, our readings give us both the majestic and universal reach of the Word, as well as the intimacy and personal encounter.


Our first reading shows us the diagnostic power of the Word. Since Jesus is the Logos, the Word that underwrites the whole structure of creation, since he is beginning and the end of anything and everything, he alone can show us not only how things should be, but therefore also how things have gone wrong.


The Word of God therefore gradually opens up our hearts such that we might trust more and more. Through our growing knowledge of God’s love for us, we begin to understand that a very important part of God’s love is God revealing our sins to us. God wants to show us our sins to judge us, but this is the judgment of diagnosis, a diagnosis that is always the necessary precursor to healing. The call to repentance is always a call to grow in the likeness of Christ, by taking responsibility and therefore growing in the truth, who is Jesus.

Our first reading is such a diagnosis. It spells out the experience of a life without hope. A lack of purpose and meaning, leading to a life of repetition and drudgery. How many of our brothers and sisters experience this? How much of people’s lives is spent trying to escape this truth? How much of our economy, our culture, our world is also is designed to repress this knowledge through various forms of addiction, whether that be endless shopping, pornography useless entertainment like social media distraction, et cetera? The Word of God seeks to reveal this all as false.


Again, though, the Word of God seeks to reveal the state of the world to heal us. We see this beautifully in our gospel.


Our gospel today follows on from last week. Jesus has taught in the synagogue with such authority that not only has he left a deep impression on his hearers, evil spirits have also felt compelled to react. Jesus’s proclamation of the Good News, therefore, reveals both what people really want, what speaks to their hearts, as well as what is wrong, what is enslaving them.


And when Jesus does this, when evil is laid bare, Jesus immediately exercises his power over the situation and heals the man. And this healing continues today. On finding out that Simon Peter’s mother-in-law is unwell, he heals her too. This is what our God coming to us, this is what the Word of God is like. This is what it is like to be in the presence of God. God wants to heal us. His Word wants to raise us up. Indeed, raise up to serve, just as Simon Peter’s mother-in-law does, the perfect response of a disciple.


Finally, we see in our gospel the real heart of God’s Word, the intimacy of Jesus with his heavenly Father. This is the source of power, the engine from which all life flows. This is the dinner table of the divine family, the reality of the Eucharist.


And so we see so many aspects of God’s word. God seeking to be with us. And by being with us, seeking to reveal to us where we are. And by showing us where we are, showing us where we should be. Our real home: the Trinity.


And when we know this, when we know the great love of God’s word, when we know the powerful truth of God’s Word, how it reveals the state of the world but always in order to heal it and raise it up: when we know this, how can we not be one with St Paul in our second reading. How could we keep this to ourselves? How can we not proclaim this? Do all we can to make Christ known?


Let’s pray then that we do grow in our love of God’s Word. Let’s pray that we grow in our trust of God’s word, such that our sins might be revealed and healed. Let’s allow God’s word to lift us up. And let’s not keep this wonderful gift that is God’s word to ourselves.

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