The Greatest of All Time Wk 3: Better Together
You know who the greatest of all time is. We are not talking about Simone Biles, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Wayne Gretzy, Tom Brady, Mike Trout, Wille Mays, or Ty Cobb.
We are talking about the king of kings, Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God! Why is he the greatest of all time?
The bible says Jesus was there before the world was formed. He came to earth as a baby, grew into a man, never sinned, healed, taught, corrected, led, fed, died and rose. He is a mountain mover, chain breaker, heart changer, protector, provider, and friend. He is the world’s Savior, Redeemer, and King. He is the victor in the battle against Satan and his minions. Despite our sins against him, he loves us unconditionally. He makes intercession for us to the Father. He has prepared a place for us and is coming back to get us. Great, I’ll say again, is not a strong enough word to describe Jesus. My God, my Lord, my Savior is awesome and the undisputed GREATEST OF ALL TIME!!!!
That is the main title for today’s message, The Greatest of All Time. The subtitle is Better Together. When we say together, we mean community. We are better as a community of faith. And the main community of faith we want to talk about today is the family, your family.
I mentioned last week that the main reason why I am Catholic isn’t because of some priest, bishop or pope. I am Catholic because of the witness of my parents, family members, and friends who shared their love for the Lord with me. Not to downplay the influence priests, bishops and popes can have, especially when they live their vocations faithfully. It is just that most people find their way into the Church because of the loving and faithful witness of a family member or a friend. That is a certain type of evangelization and a very important type of evangelization. We talk a lot about evangelization in our church and what our role should be in evangelization.
Our bishop is publishing a pastoral letter on evangelization and everyone’s role in it. If you receive our electronic newsletter you received a summary of bishop‘s pastoral letter this Saturday morning. All of us have a role in evangelization. All of us have a role.
Let’s take a closer look at the family and its role in evangelization. .
Evangelization takes place in many places; however, it primarily takes place within the family. In the family all members evangelize and are evangelized.
This kind of family relationship is what we call the domestic church. The family is called the domestic church because families are the smallest body of gathered believers in Jesus. It is in the context of the domestic church, the family, that we first learn who God is, prayerfully seek God’s will for us, and learn to share Jesus with others. The emphasis that our church places on the home and family speaks to the profound dignity and importance of all parents.
However, what are we to do when our family relationships seem shattered?. We are to look for love and mercy. Jesus’ overall message is always that Christian families are to be a sign of mercy and closeness even when family life remains imperfect or lacks peace and joy. Mercy is the love which all of us need to experience, regardless of our life-history or track record.
Included here among us today are many divorced – or those who have remarried after their divorce. For those of us, who have experienced those things, today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark could re-open old wounds and stir again, feelings of failure. You may be asking: “Where is the mercy and love in such a message?” This Gospel is hard to listen to. It can be uncomfortable. Divorce is hard and hurtful. The Greatest of all time, Jesus, wants to extend his healing love and mercy to you.
Jesus’ focus in our passage today is on the beauty of the relationship of a good marriage. The gospel is not about divorce. It is about marriage and what makes it so special and beautiful when it is shared between people who recognize they are created in the image of God, that is, they treat each other as equals and with complimentarity. Those two things must co-exist for a marital relationship to be a true sacramental marriage, equality and complimentarity.
This Sunday is also Respect Life Sunday because it kicks off Respect Life Month. We have a great respect for life because we recognize that we are all created in God’s image, and because of that, life is sacred. That is the essence of today’s first reading. Life is sacred. Relationships too can be sacred, if we honor the fact that all human relationships are intended to be sacred. All human relationships have the potential for sacred interaction. We are all created as equals and precious in God’s eyes.
Jesus tells us that relationships CAN BE sacred, even with all our flaws and limitations. In this gospel, Jesus says the impossible is possible: by treating each other as created in God’s image, as equals, we can be part of his kingdom, we can become the wonderful spouses, parents, and friends that we long to be, but so often have not been.
And how is this to happen? Jesus says quite simply, we must become like little children! You see, for a small child, everyone is alike – everyone is equal! The reigning of God – or paradise – is the reigning of equality. To enter it, we adults must be like small children. That is, we are not to exploit or dominate each other. We are to treat each other as equals.
Equality doesn’t make sense without complementarity because love only exists between complementary equals. Husband and wife are to acknowledge the equality of their dignity as well as the complementarity of their gifts. If you have never had that type of relationship, then you are missing out on the most beautiful thing in which you could ever be involved.
Is there a perfect family? Often we think of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the perfect family. After all, we call them the Holy Family. Remember though, their family was fraught with tremendous difficulty. They struggled tremendously. They knew then, and know now, what it is to struggle. We should ask The Holy Family to pray for us, and our families. In today’s world, full of broken families, a prayer to the Holy Family to help all Christian families realize their mission to show forth Christ to the world is needed more than ever. And so is the full recovery of the vision of the family as a domestic church.
The dynamics of a family… It can be challenging, chaotic…but we are in it together! We need each other. We are better together.
What do we want you to know: Jesus is the Greatest of All Time. He is waiting to help you and your family. For we are indeed better together. As a matter of fact Jesus’ entire family wants to help your family.
What do we want you to do: Gather your family and pray together the consecration prayer and discuss it with them. Let’s get started now by praying this prayer together. Then you can pick up a card at the exits to pray this prayer at home with your family. Pray it together and discuss it. Remember, your family is the domestic church, the smallest, evangelizing body of gathered believers in Jesus.
O Lord Jesus, you lived in the home of Mary and Joseph in Nazareth. . .
You can download the prayer of consecration to the Holy Family in pdf by clicking here.