YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 3RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: The Liberating word of God.
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi
HOMILY: GOSPEL : LK 1:1-4; 4:14-21
” If you want to be free, begin by accepting the truth, living by it and giving it to others.”
My dearest people of God today we are confronted with the reality of the liberating power of God’s word. Today’s readings challenge us to hear, read and put into practice the saving and liberating word of God, thus transforming our lives and to convey the salvation and liberation of Christ to others around us through our renewed lives.
Most political figures in our time would hardly consider making liberation of the captives an essential part of their manifesto. This may be partly due to the fact that it does not sound like a good agenda, so they would rather promise infrastructural developments and better policies.
Regrettably, many political leaders have escalated their tyrannical rule to the point of holding in captivity the very people they were called to protect and safeguard their freedom. They do this through various means especially policies that enslave people in their own country and worsen the situation of immigrants. Unlike these tyrants, the Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus’ time, Jesus’ took a complete departure from the political ideologies of His time. As a leader during His earthly life, Jesus’ inaugural speech was a theology of total liberation hence the emergence of what we call the liberation theology. This liberation; ” to bring glad tidings to the poor, liberation to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and freedom for the oppressed” is primarily based on the truths of the gospel. It was this “dangerous” truths of the gospel, that would someday make Jesus a target of the religious authorities. HIS MISSION WAS A LIBERATING ONE.
Speaking in the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus used Isaiah’s( cf Isaiah 61) prophetic terms, long since seen as referring to the coming Messiah, to describe his own mission. Jesus said he had been sent, among other reasons, “to bring Good News to the poor.” The success of Jesus’ mission, particularly with the poor who had no political power except that conferred by their sheer numbers, made Jesus a “dangerous” person to the religious authorities of Israel and eventually resulted in his crucifixion. The Christian Gospel is still dangerous when its truth is really put into practice.
In the first reading, after rebuilding the Temple and restoring the city, Ezra leads the people in a “Covenant renewal” ceremony by reading and interpreting the Law.
The Second Reading, taken from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that “together we are Christ’s Body, but each of us is a different part of it.” This suggests that, as different parts of Christ’s Body, each of us has a share, as instruments in God’s hands, in bringing the freeing and saving mission of Christ to our world in our times.
In a world blinded by the darkness of falsehood, today’s gospel is a challenge to us all. As St. Paul rightly points out, we are all sharers in the saving and liberating mission of Christ. Are you aware of this?
The truth is our tool for liberation. Nothing holds a person in captivity than the ignorance of the truth. There is so much falsehood in our society that we have become captives in our land. We claim to be free when in reality we are in bondage. Freedom without living in the truth is slavery. When the governments of the world don’t tell the truth to their citizens they keep them in captivity. When leaders of the world from the lowest to the highest in rank deprive their followers the truth, they become tools of enslaving them instead of agent of liberating them. When we keep quiet over the evils happening around us and when we become accomplices to evil policies and actions, we contribute to keeping many in captivity. Everyone no matter the age, is entitled to the truth . Parents can lie and keep their children in captivity but when they know the truth, the outcome might be catastrophic. Many today are living in captivity because they have not been told the truth. Many families and relationships are at war because the truth was never told when it should be. Truth delayed is truth denied many will say. We need to reflect on liberating others especially those we kept in the darkness of captivity by our lies and malicious intents. Better tell the truth and be free than holding yourself in captivity. Some people control others and manipulate them because they have access to certain truths those do not have. Someday when all know the truth, no one will be a slave to another. Modern slavery is alive because many are deprived of the truth that will liberate them.
~The word of God is the source of all truths . The truths of the gospel are often described as “dangerous” because they are like a double edge sword that pierces the human heart. They are bitter truths, but they offer life everlasting. Jesus’ mission is to convey this eternal truth to humanity. He became the enemy of the Jewish authorities because the liberation and the truth He preaches challenges the cultural, political and religious atmosphere and ideologies of the time. His mission transcends earthly ambitions. He came to establish a new order of creation founded on the truths of the gospel. His preference for the poor and marginalized was unparalleled. His compassion for them is comparable to none. Can we say we a liberating people when we ignore the poor amongst us? Jesus came to restore the sight of the blind. He does it through His miracles by healing physical blindness but more the spiritual blindness of the people of this time by teaching the eternal truths. God continues to heal but now He uses us. We may not perform miracles of healing the physically blind among us, but we can restore the sight of those living in the darkness of falsehood and ignorance by teaching them and practising the liberating truths of the gospel.
Let us hold on to the immutable truths of the gospel and practice its principles. Participate in the sacraments and your life will be renewed to renew others. Many are dying, many are imprisoned for doing nothing wrong. Many were falsely accused and are paying the price of an offence they did not commit. It is time we speak out and liberate those in captivity. Those who have suffered captivity at the hands of others—whether it is abuse of any sort, dishonesty, slander, gossip, or unfair judgment—can take comfort in the truth that Christ has the power to take those burdens from us and liberate us from the damaging effects they cause
May God continue to inspire you and fill your heart with love so as to be a source of liberation for others. May we be liberated from the captivity of sinful habits and blindness to the truth. May God open our eyes to see His good works. May we become agents of liberation in our enslaved world.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. Clem C. Aladi
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