Fr. Tim’s Homily for Sunday, January 26, 2020

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time-A

Catholic Schools Week

Word of God Sunday

Isaiah 8: 23–9: 3

1 Corinthians 1: 10-13, 17

Matthew 4: 12-23

Sunday Readings – click here

Sunday Weekly Bulletin – click here

To our Saint Joseph Parish School families, our dedicated teachers, staff and volunteers – and those of our area Catholic high schools – happy Catholic Schools Week!

         To all of you, our Saint Joseph and Nativity Parish Family members – we have a school together.  Thank you for your commitment to and support for Catholic education!

         This Sunday from 12:00 Noon until 1:30 PM, Saint Joseph Parish School, under the leadership of our principal, Mrs. Amy Makruski, will be welcoming you to an Open House and student craft show.  There will be tours to showcase what our gem-of-a-school has to offer. 

Saint Joseph Parish School has received designation from the State of Ohio as a STEM school – with a curriculum emphasizing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, in a Catholic learning environment, preparing our students for the job-market of this 21st century.

         Whether or not you have school-age children, please come and see.  If you have children in another school, we would love to welcome you here.  If you would like to return to Saint Joseph Parish School, we would love to talk with you!

         On this Word of God Sunday, as we open Catholic Schools Week, in today’s Gospel, Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee and He saw two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, and He called them:  “Come after Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  And then He saw two other brothers, James and John, and He called them too.  And they all followed Him.  For three years, they were with Jesus.  He taught them.  He formed them. He made them “fishers of men.”  Jesus has called each one of us to be His follower.  And He teaches us and He forms us.  He makes us “fishers of men and women.”

         During this Catholic Schools Week, I was thinking about three teachers in particular who have had a powerful continuing influence on me.

         Sister Redempta was my second grade teacher at Saint Peter’s School in Huron, Ohio.  Sister Redempta helped me prepare for First Penance and First Communion.  The Act of Contrition that I pray when I go to Confession – as I did this past week – is the same one that she taught me in 1956.

         Sister Mary Valory was my seventh grade teacher at Saint Mary’s School in Elyria.  She was a grammarian, teaching us:  lists of prepositions, the subjective and objective pronouns, the difference between a transitive verb and a linking verb, and so on.  I didn’t realize at the time what a great foundation she gave me until I began studying other languages, and eventually became an English major in college.  She provided me with a great understanding of how grammar works, and I am still grateful.

Dr. Michael Williams was my professor of homiletics (preaching) at Saint Mary’s Seminary, the year before I was ordained a priest.  One of my longtime fears was public speaking.  At that time in my life, when I would try to read in front of others, I would stumble over words.  And when it came to speaking in front of other people, I was petrified.  One year before I was ordained a priest, Dr. Williams taught me not only how to speak in public and but he also convinced me that I could.  To this day, I am grateful to him.

         I think about the many fine teachers I have known, and I am sure that you do this often as well.  Our teachers can have a powerful and lasting influence upon us.

         A daughter was talking with her mother about something that she learned in class that day from Mrs. Brown.  And as she was describing that lesson, her mother was thinking to herself:  “I’ve said that a thousand times here at home, and it’s as though she heard it for the first time today from Mrs. Brown.  And I’m her mother!”

         The mother taught the lesson, and Mrs. Brown drove it home.

         Our world’s events, our life situations can become very fearful when we do not have all the information that we need in order to deal with them effectively.  We say things like, “I don’t understand.  I don’t know what to do.”

         This is one of the reasons we come to Christ our Teacher.  He has a full grasp of what is going on.  We ask Him to teach us and to help us to know who we are and what He wants us to do.

         Jesus continues to teach us through His Holy Word and through His Body, the Church. 

         So we pray:

Jesus, teach us your ways.  Guide us in all truth. 

Help us to be your good and faithful disciples.

And assist us in our callings to teach and to share your way of life with others here on earth until, one day, we happily meet in heaven and see you, our Lord and Master Teacher, face-to-face.  Amen.