Today's Scriptures are powerful indeed. What is God saying to us today? In the 1st reading, neither the priest Eli nor young Samuel understood at first what was happening as the Lord was speaking to Samuel. Finally, Eli told him, " if ( when ) the Lord calls again, reply, ' Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.' " Sisters and brothers, you and I, AND SO MANY PEOPLE IN OUR WORLD TODAY need -- have a REAL & DEEP NEED -- to say, " Speak, Lord, your servant is listening."

We sang in today's Responsorial psalm, " Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will." YOUR will ... GOD'S WILL-- not MY WILL; not the will of the so often regarded, and self-proclaimed, " trend setters of the world ". NO !  " Here am I, Lord, I come to do YOUR will." Verse 9 from today's psalm 40, puts it loud and clear: " To do YOUR WILL, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart."

In today's Gospel, John 1: 35 - 49, Jesus issues an invitation not just to Simon Peter's brother Andrew and the other ( unnamed ) disciple of John the Baptist, not just to Simon Peter and the others, and later, to Mary Magdalen and the Samaritan woman at the well, etc. etc., but an invitation to YOU and ME, and to all the PEOPLE in the WORLD. Jesus said to them in their time, and He says to us, and to our world today, ' Come to Me; come, walk with Me; " Come, and you will see."

I began by saying today's Scriptures are powerful indeed; what is God saying to us today? Hear the words of today's second reading... from 1st Corinthians 6:(13 - 20 ): " The body is NOT for IMMORALITY, BUT FOR THE LORD ... do you not know that YOUR BODIES ARE MEMBERS OF CHRIST? Avoid immorality ... do you not know that YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ", a sacred temple of God !!

And today that temple -- those temples -- are desecrated every day and every night ! " Do you not know that YOUR BODIES ARE MEMBERS OF CHRIST ?"

Look around us -- look at the internet, the T.V., movies, books, the magazines that abound seemingly everywhere, the terrible sin and scandal of priests' sex abuse --- pornography, adultery, living together outside God's sacred bonds of marriage, fornication in other ways, self-abuse, abortion, euthanasia, drug and alcohol abuse, cutting oneself, etc. etc.

Yes, it is easy, and legitimate, to point a finger at Harvey Weinstein and so many others -- famous people and not so famous alike -- who have willfully abused others, especially women, sexually and otherwise. It is right to be scandalized by, and so angry at, the sins of sexual abuse committed buy some priests and others in the Church.

Corinth, in the days of St. Paul, was known to be a hotbed for immorality, sexually and otherwise. Sadly, must we not acknowledge that the same is true in so many places and areas of life today ? But, remember the lesson of pointing the accusing finger at someone else. As Sister Mary something or other said back in our grammar school days, remember children, when you point your finger at someone else, you have three of your fingers pointing back at you ! So, let's look at ourselves! What shows do we watch? What movies do you go to, or rent? HOW DO WE CLOTHE OURSELVES ? What is our own personal dress code -- female or male ?! What about such a prevalent thing as the music we listen to, or buy?  The video games-- and what do we see exhibited there? And what about the all too readily available modern day scourge and fire of pornography ? ( pause )   What is OUR lifestyle -- in so many areas, is it that of Christ, or that which is OPPOSED to Him?

Yes, sin abounds ! The devil and his legions, his accomplices are powerful ! BUT GOD IS MORE POWERFUL ! The love of Jesus, the MERCY of God is infinite ! Hear some of the words of Jesus to St. Faustina. " I AM LOVE AND MERCY ITSELF; My HEART OVERFLOWS with great mercy for souls...let no soul FEAR TO DRAW NEAR TO ME, even though its sins be as scarlet...MY MERCY IS GREATER THAN YOUR SINS..."  ( --  from pg. 25 of the Divine Mercy booklet, Mercy and Devotion. ).   And, from page 27:  " Souls that make an appeal to my mercy DELIGHT ME. To such souls I GRANT EVEN MORE GRACE THAN THEY ASK. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to MY COMPASSION."

We have here at St. Greg's multiple times of confessions. Hear the words of Jesus in today's Gospel, " Come, and you will see."


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