Homily for the Third Sunday OT

The local weatherman said a few days ago that our days are getting longer by about two minutes a day. You can tell that when you get up in the morning and maybe even when you go to sleep at night. It is a wonderful feeling to know that things are changing in our natural world. When things change around us, we also change inside.

If we can think about the changes that will happen in the near future we might smile at thoughts of going to a lake house, going camping, being on the water to play or to go fishing. There are people who hunt. There are also people who like to stay home, or can’t get away for a variety of reasons. That does not mean that changes around us, won’t affect us all.

My dad and his friends always took a fall camping trip to a place near Elko, Nevada. When he was in high school, he and his friends pooled their resources and bought a gold mine from an old prospector. Mind you, there are a lot of old gold mines and old prospectors in the desert and mountains of Nevada. This particular gold mine had played out and there was not an ounce of gold to be had. Needless to say it wasn’t his best investment choice. Getting rich was probably the first thing they had on their minds, but as the years went on the camp became a place where great friendships and memories were valued more than gold.

One by one as my cousins and I grew older we were invited to the camp. Being the youngest of all my cousins, I finally got to go on the trip. The place was magical. While the others hunted, my dad and I would go into all the old mineshafts, looking for old mining relics and we chased wild horses for hours. As my cousins and I grew

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, it became less magical. And I haven’t been there since my father died. And yet it is still in my thoughts to this day. It was a place where I marked many changes in my life. Learning and growing. Being taught with wisdom and guidance to embrace changes in life and in the world around us.

All we need to do is think about how things have changed since we were younger and growing up. Even now, whatever age we are, from the very newest of babies to the oldest of our wise elders, change has been constant. Sometimes we are unable to control it. As we grow, others lead us and guide us through various stages of life.

Youth moving into young adulthood are given the grace and goodness, and freedom to see how things are working out. Young people, especially in their teenage years have lots of choices. It is up to us older folks, parents and friends, to trust that we have done the “best we can” in order for others “to be the best they can be.” All of us have memories of what it was like when we found out we could be successful on our own.

Once again Isaiah is telling the tale of a people chosen by God. God gave them everything they needed to be successful in the world. But it seemed they didn’t realize it… “again…” In our first reading it is the same old story. The Assyrians, the unfaithful kings and rulers of Israel and Judah, the humility of exile and the hope of returning someday to their homeland; their repentance, and the
compassionate God who leads them home. I said that change is all around us, but if we refuse to see it as a way toward a better life then we end up in a sort of self-imposed exile.

We look around and see that things could be different. We need to grow up, we need to trust in the stories we have heard about a compassionate man of God who will come to save us. We have seen John the Baptist last week, but he says he is not the one. This week John is arrested. And that was a huge change in the life of one particular person: Jesus.

When he heard that John was arrested he left Galilee and Nazareth and moved to Capernaum. We know he thought about John and perhaps got the feeling that he was supposed to continue the call to repentance that John preached. At this time of great change in his life Jesus did three things. He left the place he was most familiar with, he began to preach and he called others to join him. Huge changes in his life and huge consequences for the world.

The call from Jesus first went out to two sets of brothers — Peter and Andrew, James and John. They left their fishing nets and their lives changed. Jesus called others, men and women who no longer needed to depend on their various livelihoods. Their voices became like nets, thrown far and wide, telling stories about Jesus. His adventures and failures in order to catch people. And you know that story also. A story much more successful than the first. The people in darkness are now looking at the great light Jesus has brought into the world. No more self-imposed exile but freedom. Freedom to change and see, to trust that we have done the “best we can” in order for others “to be the best they
can be.”

Once we have seen what the call can do for us and others, hopefully we are set for the adventure of a lifetime. At first he calls the apostles and disciples. They tell the story. We hear it. And then there is another call. This time the call comes from us to Jesus.

A call we make back to Jesus: “Please help us change.” Like the Lord in today’s Gospel, we are called to leave the place where we are the most comfortable; we start to tell the stories about what God has done in our lives, and most importantly, we realize we never have to do it alone.