Chaplain’s Memorial Mass (3rd Sunday Ordinary Time) Homily - January 26th 2019
“I wish I had been there”. At one time or other we might be tempted to make that wise, when we hear Our Lord describe his earthy mission quoting the words of Isaiah the Prophet, at the very time he was fulfilling that prophecy: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tiding to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to a announce a year of favor from the Lord.”
But why should we wish that we were back there in the synagogue at Nazareth? In every way that counts, we are there, When Our Lord says “today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing”, it really means not just “today” 2000 years ago. It means “today” January 26th or 27th 2019. Christ does not give us something and then take it away. Certainly not the most essential things in his mission of salvation.
Christ continues to give all the good things mentioned in that prophecy if Isaiah. But he also ASSOCIATES ALL OF US with the GIVING, as well as the RECEIVING. Why do I say that? Listen to the words of today’s second reading from St. Paul: “The body is one and has many members, but all members, many though they are, are one body; and so it is with Christ….You, then, are the body of Christ.”
Some of the responsibility, then for making that prophecy of Isaiah come true here and now, for making Christ’s mission come true here and now, belong to us. We have, “all of us….been given to drink of the one Spirit”. We are members of the body of Christ. The Spirit of the Lord came upon us at Baptism; we were anointed with that Spirit at our Confirmation. We are, then, the feet and legs and voice of Christ today, with the mission of bringing glad tidings to the poor. We are the ones sent by Christ to perform those spiritual and corporal works of mercy described in the prophecy.
These scripture lessons are especially appropriate today, when this Council of the Knights of Columbus commemorates its deceased members, along with its living members and the windows and families of those deceased members. The Knights of Columbus take especially seriously the fact that we share Our Lord’s mission on earth and strive to make known to the community we live in, by the example of our lives and by the charitable activities we carry out in the community, the fact that Christ is present and working in our community through us. When our present living generation passes on, may we leave behind a new generation of Knights to carry on our share of Christ’s mission.
And so, [for all members of the Knights here present, and] for all the faithful Catholics and Christians here today, Our Lord was not present 2000 years ago in his public life. He is present with us and in us today, members of his body, sending his Holy Spirit to inspire us to carry on his mission today.