MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on that sticky word “repent!”  What can we “change” about it? Why is it important to us today?  Interested? Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time. Please read Matthew 4:12-17.  #GreatPreaching #Prayer #Sermons #Homilyhelper #Repent #KingdomofHeaven #Change #Matthew #Messiah

For MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 1/26/2014 The 3rd  Sunday of Ordinary Time.

Please pause this audio and read Matthew 4:12-17.

          Change.

          Change your shirt.   Change your oil. Change your mind. Change your opinion. Change the channel. Change the station. Change a diaper. Change your tie. Change THAT dress! Change your order. Change the menu. Give me change. Change your address. Change your route. Siri, what does “change” mean? Change my medication. Change my doctor. Change towels, they stink. Change your socks, them, too. Change your speed. Change your phone. Change your plan. We…change, all the time. About the only thing we don’t change is our actions.

          Jesus’ message today, is this: Repent! To repent is to change. It means that we are to be changed by God, which we call a “conversion.” The conversion to which Jesus speaks is a constant. It should happen every day. That is why it is so important for us to pray first thing in the morning. We need to start the day with a change of heart: this day, Lord, is not about me, it is about you. I am part of the universe, you are the Sustainer of the universe.

          For those of us who are converted daily, the Kingdom of Heaven is within us and flows from us. It leads us to avoid the sins we commit against those we love, against those who annoy us, irritate us, or cause us to have to work too much for things that seem so simple. But to be converted daily means that we have decided that we are going to “change.” We are going to turn from what we are and from the default position of how we were raised in favor of being raised from that death into a new life in Jesus Christ.

          If you want to know one thing, you can know this: Jesus is not calling us to sit still, sit on our laurels, sit in a judgment seat or sit with our head in the clouds. Jesus is calling us to change. Our resistance is because we don’t like to change.

          As I have watched my children grow up, I have noticed that the people who hate change the most are not the old people: it is middle schoolers. Middle schoolers are the meanest people ever. They are harassing each other constantly for everyone to be like everyone else. If you do not tow the party line, be it that smoking pot is cool, or skinny jeans are in, or that every ideology, EXCEPT religion is good, then you are a weirdo. You will be subject to being relegated to the “out” crowd. For a middle schooler, that is the worst. Why is it that dads and moms are suddenly stupid in middle school? It is because moms and dads have passed the age of conformity. They don’t feel like they have to be like everyone else. Moms and dads are renegades.

          “Dad, don’t SAY that!” “Mom! Don’t WEAR that!” Don’t be different! Don’t change my world!

          Here is the problem. We must be different. We must be better. We must be our brother’s keeper. We must care for the poor. We must love our enemies. We must love our neighbor. We must turn the other cheek. We must be kind, good, merciful and loving. Every day, we must rise up from our sin attacked selves and change our focus from us to the Kingdom of Heaven within, given to us at our baptism and renewed in the Eucharist and daily prayer with Bible reading.

          (Whine) Why? Why do we have to change?

We have to change, repent, daily, because Jesus is no ordinary messenger. For Matthew, it is not enough to know that the preaching of Jesus began in Galilee. Remember, Matthew declares Jesus to be the fulfillment of Israel. He is not just a prophet. Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy. So, for Matthew, Galilee is tied to the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali. These two tribes of Israel resided in the area that became known as Galilee. The tribes are the descendants of the sons of Jacob, named Zebulun and Naphtali. They also are the areas that represent the place from which Israel would win a war, according to the prophet Isaiah.

          In the Syro-Ephramatic War, Ahaz was going to lead Israel against Syria. Isaiah’s message is that the one who was to lead would take the people from a seemingly hopeless situation (darkness) to a situation of victory (light). The people were to have hope. This prophecy is interpreted by us Christians to be more than Isaiah could have known. This prophecy of a Messiah who would deliver us is not just for a war against Syria, it is for the war within.

          Changing to be a better person can be hard. It can seem like a hopeless task. We could have people around us who don’t want US to change because then THEY don’t have to change. Change within is hard. Sin sinks its hooks into us and doesn’t let go. It is constantly whispering to us, chase that woman/chase that man, tell this lie, manipulate this situation, take that money, get that gain while no one is looking, tear her down, destroy his reputation and you will be happy. Sin is ever present in our path. We are called by Jesus, to turn from sin and turn toward the better Way, the way of love, the way of God, the Way of self-sacrificing Jesus Christ.

          Jesus is revealed to us today as the one who is light who will lead us out of the dark path that we tend to follow. He will call us to live a new way with new people in a new context, the Kingdom of Heaven. In fact, it is helpful for us to ask, when we are faced with doing the same old things, the same old way, “Is this how someone in the Kingdom of Heaven behaves?” “Is this what someone in the Kingdom of Heaven would do?” “Really?”

          Change your shirt.   Change your oil. Change your mind. Change your opinion. Change the channel. Change the station. Change a diaper. Change your tie. Change THAT dress! Change your order. Change the menu. Give me change. Change your address. Change your route. Siri, what does “change” mean? Change my medication. Change my doctor. Change towels, they stink. Change your socks, them, too. Change your speed. Change your phone. Change your plan. Change your life.

          Amen? Amen.

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