HOMILY FOR THE 16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: Living in God’s Presence, the Only Hope of Glory
BY: Fr. Luke Ijezie
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JULY 17 2022
Resp. Psalm 15:2-5
This 16th Sunday of the year presents interesting tips on how to lead a truly happy life. What counts is not how many things we possess but with whom we live. The only hope is living with God and walking in His presence always. It may sound simple, but there lies the secret of real living.
1. The first reading from Gen 18:1-10 narrates Abraham’s lavish hospitality to travellers who come across his tent. The great thing is that he does not know they are divine messengers. Their presence changes his life for better, as he gets rewarded with a son who would be his rightful heir. This divine presence will continue to manifest in his life.
2. The psalmist of Psalm 15:2-5 enumerates ten practical ways of living in the presence of God.
These include: i. walking without blemish; ii. acting with justice; iii. speaking the truth from the heart; iv. not slandering with the tongue; v. doing no wrong to a brother or sister; vi. casting no reproach on a neighbour; vii. holding the godless in disdain; viii. honouring those who fear the Lord; ix. taking no interest on a loan; x. accepting no bribe against the innocent. The one who does all these is virtually living in the presence of God.
3. The second reading and the Gospel text present this presence of God concretely as Jesus Christ. Paul tells the Colossians (1:24-28) that Jesus is our hope of glory because he is the wisdom of God hidden through the ages and revealed in our time. With Jesus in our midst we are not afraid of suffering any pain in this present life. The Gospel text operates on the same wavelength. Jesus tells Martha that Mary has chosen the better path because Mary stays with Jesus and listens to him. As a matter of fact, Martha does not do a bad thing by preparing food for Jesus. Surely Jesus must have been enjoying Martha’s food, but he regards what Mary does as better. Mary stays in the divine presence. This is the message that Jesus is passing across. We worry and fret about so many things, and yet only few are needed, indeed only one. That only one is living in the presence of God always.
It may sound unrealistic to say that we should be just living in God’s presence and not go about working and hurstling. That is, of course, not what Jesus means. He asks us in Matt 6:33 to seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and other things will be added. Over anxiety about the things of this world has led many astray and led a greater number to untimely death. Most of our quarrels and katakata emanate from our inability to set priorities right. Anything that prevents us from living in the presence of God is surely useless. But we can also direct everything we do in such a way that every one of them becomes a means of encountering God. This is actually what the Psalmist encourages us to do today. In our struggle to live righteous lives and be good to all we meet, we are surely living in the presence of God, and there we encounter Jesus and there we find glory.
May God bless His words in our hearts!
Fr. Luke Ijezie