We’ve all had to put up with boring speeches or sermons from time to time, (not at St. Gabriel’s, of course) whether it be from politicians, preachers, at school speech nights or the local service or sports club. Every now and then we come across someone who really grabs our attention. It might be that he or she puts words together well; it’s often a combination of that and something in the content that strikes a chord.
This is certainly how Jesus came across to those people in the synagogue as we hear in today’s gospel. This was someone very different; they had had their share of the run of the mill scribes with their tired old platitudes. Here was someone who really meant what he said and was able to back it up with a power they hadn’t seen.
This is the first public appearance of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel. Over the next few weeks we’ll see the acceptance of Jesus as he battles with a force that takes various forms ~ physical sickness, opposition from deep-rooted mindsets, the accusation of approval with the enemy itself. This is the “gospel”, the good news that Jesus invites the people to accept readily by changing their lives.
The same “gospel” is offered to us as well. We’re dealing here with a power that can change our lives, not merely a set of nice, pious sayings. Too often we reduce the gospels to the latter, and so we remain unmoved by the Gospel’s challenges.
The people who acclaimed Jesus realized that he had something special that could influence them to change their lives. The authority and healing power of Jesus is present today in his body, the Church, through the Sacraments, but also in the love, care, and compassion of every community of faith. We only have to look around us when we are gathered for the Eucharist to name it and accept it.
We become most effective in continuing the work of Jesus when we, as Church, are able to back up teaching and doctrine with the same concern for the troubled lives of ordinary people. That’s why in the Gospels Jesus is always accompanied by followers learning how to be genuine “fishers of men.”
Today we begin our celebration of Catholic School’s Week, and so celebrate Annunciation Catholic School. On the following pages, you’ll see a list of activities happening at Annunciation this week to which you are all invited. Come and see what a wonderful environment we have at our school, and how happy the children are to be here. The faculty and staff will be happy to show you around.
This is also the time to help our school grow. Next fall will see Annunciation open all 9 grades ~ K-8. We are preparing a plan for the construction of the permanent school as it fits in the overall plans for our parish. As we get more details, the plans will be forthcoming. DLR Group is our architect and has been thinking outside the box in their initial plans.
We’re also approaching CDA season as well, when Bishop Olmsted will be asking for a gift to the Diocesan appeal. The CDA appeal is an annual fund drive that supports a variety of ministries that need funding to operate, and do depend on your financial support. I ask your generous response to the CDA, as well as your care-filled support of our parish operations and debt reduction, as we continue the work of Jesus Christ at St. Gabriel’s.