You cannot serve God and mammon, warns Jesus. "Mammon" is more than money; it is any possession I can "mine." Mammon can give us the illusion that we have an existence apart from God. The poor are blessed because they are less likely to fall into this deception. This homily gives the example of a girl from Peru named Marisol and a couple from St. Mary of the Valley who lost a child. After the Mass they showed Sister Barbara and me a small Seahawk jersey # 3, with a signature and a Bible verse from Russell Wilson with the Bible verse Matthew 6:33.
On Friday Fr. Valencia and I went to Seattle. The city has grown more religious. Everywhere you see sings that have the number of the Apostles Jesus chose... A new T-shirt says "God, Family and Seahawks...in that order."
That's what today's Gospel is about - getting our lives in right order. Jesus say, "Repent." That means to change one's mind and heart, to put things in their right place. "The Kingdom of heaven is at hand." The kingdom is is God's rule. St. Thomas Aquinas said...
In any good story the author gives a hint at the beginning - a clue about how the story will resolve itself. For example, at the beginning of The Hobbit, we meet Bilbo Baggins. He desires one thing: to lead a quiet life, that is, tend his garden and eat eleven or twelve meals a day. The last thing Bilbo wants is an adventure. We see hints, however, that he has surprising skills and courage. In the end he will use those gifts to accomplish great things. So in The Hobbit we have hints at the beginning about how the story will end.
Before talking about the Baptism of Jesus in relation to the Big Story, I would like to address a couple of common objections to our story. Some people say it is too complicated - all those prophets, wars, nations and dates. But then comes the second objection, "Your story is too childlike and simplistic." Both objections contain truth.
One time I was in foul mood. People had let me down. Filled with anger, justified anger, I imagined they had done it on purpose. I thought, "Well, I will just have to do it myself, but I want them to see the extra burden they caused me." My pity party continued with full steam when I picked up a small booklet.
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