Fr. Alberto Barattero, IVE
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
When I was a child I wanted to go with my father to fish, and my father always said, “when you are twelve I will take you fishing”. So, when I was twelve years old I was happy because I could fish with my father, and this day came.
The night before, my father and I began to prepare all the things we needed to fish. My father had more than one rod, so I took one of them and my father said “this one doesn’t work” so I asked him why. He explained to me the different types of fish and places to fish. Thus he explained to me that for a particular fish you need a special rod and special kind of bait and for other fish another type of rod was needed, etc. He explained to me a lot of things a fishermen must consider in order to be successful.
The same reality applies to our life as priests.
Fr. Nathaniel Dreyer, IVE
Friday of the Second Week of Ordinary Time - Memorial of St. Fabian & St. Sebastian
Today’s Gospel presents Christ calling His apostles. Although the passage is short, and from the shortest Gospel, in the space of three verses we have the story of every priestly vocation and the model of every priestly life. These words apply to all Christians, who are priests by baptism, but in a special way to ministerial priests, and those who are studying to become one.
Mark gives us the story of every priestly vocation when he writes, “Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.”
In the Old Testament, when God did something important, He did it on a mountain: Mount Carmel, Mount Sinai, Mount Jerusalem, Mount Moriah. There’s something about a mountain that seems to touch heaven; we could say it’s the place on earth that’s closest to heaven. It’s from here that Christ calls His apostles, meaning, they must go up the mountain to encounter Him. Christ calls, and He doesn’t call the most qualified, the most intelligent, or the most capable. He calls “whom He wants,” and “they came to Him.” We too must climb the mountain of perfection to be with our Lord. It might seem like an impossible task, but just as Jesus wouldn’t have called His disciples up the mount to Him if He knew they couldn’t climb it, with God’s grace, we can climb our mountains to God.
And what is it that Jesus wants these men to do?
What does He call and ask of them?
Fr. Nathaniel Dreyer, IVE
Thursday of the Second Week of Ordinary Time
Today’s Gospel presents a brief summary of Christ’s ministry after He angered the Pharisees in yesterday’s Gospel. There are two things that call our attention: first, all the people who come to Jesus, and the second, what they find when they reach Him.
The Gospel tells us that “a large number,” or, more literally, “a great multitude” of people from Galilee and Judea were following Jesus, and that yet another “great multitude” came from all over to see Him: from “Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.” This might not seem like much, until we consider that the walk from Jerusalem to Capernaum is 100 miles, and that Idumaea is in the deep south, between the southern borders of Palestine and Arabia. Even more surprising is that the cities of Tyre and Sidon, which lie on the Mediterranean coast, northwest of Galilee, are in Phoenician territory; they’re foreign lands. Yet, all these people, Jew or foreigner, city dweller or country folk, simply heard what Jesus was doing, dropped whatever it was they were engaged in, and made the long journey to find Him and, with Him, the hope of healing. It speaks to the great faith of the people whose only connection with Jesus was hearing about Him, and, just on that hearsay, decided to go to Him. The irony is that the Pharisees, who are physically close to Jesus and His countrymen, refuse to draw near.
Secondly, when they reach Jesus, these people find, not only a whole bunch of other people, but that everything they had heard was true. This man was able to heal them, and restore them to life. Mark uses an odd word for “diseases.” He calls them μάστιγας (mástigas), which literally means “a scourge or lash with bits of metal in it.” When used for pain and suffering, it emphasizes how oppressive the pain is, how highly painful and debilitating. We can understand, then, the enthusiasm of the crowds as they draw near to Christ. They come to seek Him with their whole hearts, earnestly longing to find Him.
So, what can we take away from all this?
Fr. Timothy van Zee, IVE
Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
An accusation often leveled against priests and seminarians is that we don’t do anything. There are not many, if any, tangible results that are easily seen by outsides. In the eyes of the world there is just not much to show for our eight years in the seminary or in our day to day lives. Sometimes it is hard for us even, as seminarians and priests, to remember the extremely important things that we do each day.
So I want to put a day in the seminary in its proper perspective.
You wake up and do spiritual reading. You learn the deepest truths of reality from the men who have dumbfounded the rest of the world. Many worldly people boast of their knowledge of science but their science still can’t explain the miracles these spiritual writers performed on a daily basis. Science and medicine still can’t explain Padre Pio’s stigmata, bilocation, healings, etc. and he did these things almost every day.
You pray the rosary and you go to adoration. Many worldly people brag about meeting important people. They will tell you all about working at the White House and the day the President passed by. Every day we have a conversation with the Queen of Heaven when we pray the rosary and afterward we meet with the King of the Universe for an hour, face to face.
Priests of the Institute of the Incarnate Word