HOMILY FOR THE 20TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: THE VOICE OF TRUTH.
BY: Fr A. N. Abiagom, CM.
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY AUGUST 14 2022
Readings: Jer 38:4-6, 8-10; Heb 12,1-4; Lk 12,49-53.
1. Jeremiah was called not to comfort Jerusalem with lies but to confront her with the truth (Jer 1:4-19). The challenge the prophet would encounter in fulfilling the prophetic ministry unto which he was called was clearly foretold by the LORD: “They will fight against you …” (v. 19). Those in authority had expected Jeremiah to prophesy good fortunes for Jerusalem. On the contrary however, he prophesied her destruction in relation to the Babylonian Captivity (Jer 20–22; 24–29; 32; 34–45; 52).
2. The people in the cities of Judah had sinned against the LORD by their wickedness of abandoning Him to embracing idolatrous practices. They burnt incense to other man made gods (Jer 1:16).
3. During the period that Jeremiah prophesied, the presence of some other prophets who prophesied falsehood in favour of Judah, gave rise to the prophetic conflicts we find in Jer 27 – 28.
4. In the first reading (Jer 38:4-6, 8-10), the faithfulness of Jeremiah to delivering the prophetic message of the LORD without compromising its veracity, resulted in his being thrown into a muddy pit (Cistern of Malkijah). It was also the voice of truth that saw him out of the pit into which he was thrown by his adversaries.
5. In the gospel (Lk 12:49-53) the idea that Jesus did not come “to establish peace on earth but to cause division” (Lk 12: ) posits some difficulties. How can Jesus who taught his disciples to love even their enemies (Mt 5:44b) now be construed as the cause of war or division?
6. The fire of war that Jesus came to ignite is the necessary fight and division that leads to salvation in accordance with the will of God. In families and the world at large, this war is being fought even today. It is the war of light against darkness, truth against falsehood, love against hatred. It is the war of death unto eternal life.
7. This war begins when the light of God through Christ, illuminates the mind of a person and guides his or her thoughts unto living out the holiness that is pleasing to God. The person begins to walk in the light that dispels darkness, and therein lies the war and division that Jesus echoes as being the initiator.
8. In the second reading (Heb 12:1-4), the need for faith perseverance in our struggle against evil (sin), drawing strength from Jesus Christ who endured the cross for our salvation is emphasized. God’s people should not be discouraged even in the midst trials and temptations, especially those that they are experience while standing for the truth.
9. Sometimes, the one who stands on the path of truth will be persecuted. If there is something bitter to the world, that thing is truth. It was on account of truth that many of the prophets and saints whose martyrdom we celebrate were killed. There are many today who are persecuted by way of marginalisation, oppression and victimization all because they are bearing witness to the truth.
10. In light of Psalm 40:14b, one should not fail to trust in the LORD by calling upon Him for help should one be thrown into the pit of life like Jeremiah. The role of “Ebed-melech the Cushite” in bringing out Jeremiah from the pit through his “voice of truth” calls us to be ready to speak the truth always not just for our own benefits, but for the good of all, especially those who are victims of injustice and oppression.
May the Lord bless his word in our hearts and help us to become the voice of truth wherever we find ourselves (Amen)
Happy Sunday dear friends.