Today's readings (Rom 10:9-18; Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11; Mt 4:18-22) at Mass did not at first seem to prompt Fr. Johnson's homily at OLO Lourdes, Bethesda. That's OK by me, because the homily is supposed to be the "Word of God under another form," or something like that, and on Sundays the epistle isn't usually calibrated to match themes with the first and gospel reading anyway. I especially enjoy lives of the saints. In any event, I was mistaken, and happily so. Fr. Johnson's homily was
inspired. I'll try to recap a couple key points in brief.
- Especially as one begins to study languages, languages and words become fascinating.
- A word is, on one level, just a sound made by a voice; but not really, because it is a sound intended to convey meaning. Words are attempts to communicate what is inside oneself to others.
- The Holy Father is to be commended for his easy, comfortable use of the Greek word logos, which means "word."
- God "in many and various ways... spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets," (Heb 1:1). In doing so, he was attempting to reveal himself to us more and more; our ears were stopped, but gradually he prepared for the fullest revelation.
- Jesus is the Word of God - not mere words spoken by men - but the Word become a Man. Jesus is God's Logos. He is the fullest utterance of God to people about himself, about who he is, about what he wants for us.
- Everything about the life of Christ, then, is revelatory - a self-disclosure of who God is and what he wants for us.
- Jesus was born humbly, lived his life dodging fame, and died in humiliation - and all of it voluntary. God's ego is not on the line. He doesn't want us to worship him so he can get his kicks. He wants us to worship him because that is what will give us joy.
- This Word, Jesus, is so powerful because it is divine and because it is filled with love. It is this Word that turned Peter, Andrew, James, and John on their heels and led them to drop their nets, their livelihoods, their lives, and to follow Jesus.
- The Word comes to us today in our lives, but the world is very cluttered and busy, chaotic and noisy. The Word is not forceful or violent. It is quiet. It is born in a manger. We will only hear the Word if we make time for silence in prayer and with the Word of God written on paper, so we can get a sense of how he speaks and thinks.