Change Your Friends – Change Your Behavior – Change The Outcome (Homily: 12th Sunday Ordinary Time)
In today’s First Reading, we hear the words of Jeremiah who said:
“I hear the whisperings of many ‘Terror on every side! Denounce! Let us denounce him!’ All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine.”
Makes you wonder about the guy’s “friends.”
The fact is that if you speak up about your faith, sooner or later, you’re going to get hammered. No exceptions. Christ himself is very clear about this: “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (See John 15:18-25)
This could cause you to hold back from speaking about Jesus or sharing your faith or talking about your church. Our thoughts echo those of the prophet Jeremiah, when is it “enough?” When have we said enough, done enough for God? If God wants us to proclaim it, why doesn’t he protect us? Look at an earlier prophet – Elijah. He defeats and destroys the prophets of Baal. For his reward, he is threatened by the queen, has to run for his life, ends up hiding in a cave, depressed, lonely, tired and hungry.
Here’s the twist however. He does eventually receive God’s consolation. Elijah gets the assurances that God will look out for him, will provide him with an intimate assistance and that his legacy will be assured. But notice two aspects about the message from God:
- Elijah has to change his behavior. He has to move forward and carry on even in the midst of the difficulties and negative reaction to his message.
- The voice is not loud. God speaks through a whisper echoing Isaiah 42:2, “He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street.”
Paul J. Kim (pjkmusic.com) is a dynamic speaker and musician with a powerful message of faith, hope, and love. At the end of the Steubenville Youth Conference he closed the weekend with the topic: “Telling your story back home.” Being a faith-filled teenager in today’s world can be rough. NOT being a faith-filled teenager in today’s world can be rough. If you want to thrive, if you want to be happy, if you want your life to be different, like Elijah, like Jeremiah, Kim said: Change your friends – change your behavior – change the outcome.
This is Point #1.
What was especially impressive was the follow up and follow through he presented to our young people on “An Elevated Life: Being A Disciple For Jesus.” He stressed 6 points:
- Sunday Mass (Every Week: Weekdays if you can)
- Confession (Once A Month)
- Prayer (10 Minutes A Day)
- Read Scripture (Once A Week)
- Participate in Youth Group or Parish Life
- Get An Accountability Partner (Within One Month)
Point #2: In the midst of the changed behavior, something happens. God speaks. He speaks quietly. He speaks subtly. He speaks to you in a whisper often while you are afraid and sitting in a dark cave. But He does speak.
Point #3: Why was this important? We heard in today’s Gospel, “Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed nor any secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.” Someone needs to hear your message. Someone wants to hear your message. They’re in the dark cave. Their life is chaos. It’s all thunder and lightning and hurricanes and earthquakes. They can’t hear God’s voice. You have to be the voice that has heard the whisper and can shout the message from the rooftop.
Audio version of the homily is here: