HOMILY FOR THE 21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: GOD’S UNIVERSAL PLAN
BY: Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY AUGUST 21 2022
God has plan for every one of us! His plan for us is for peace, for progress and for eternal happiness with Him at the end of time. The materialization of God’s plan for us is never without setbacks, challenges and obstacles on our own part. Through the process of the unveiling of God’s plan for us, God never abandons us; He is always there to help us. In the midst of the setbacks, challenges and obstacles that are involved, we are invited to affirm and consolidate our respective decisions to belong to this golden plan of God. May we never miss out of this redemptive and salvific plan of God; Amen.
The First Reading of today (Is 66:18-21) gives us a prophetic indication of God’s universal plan; “I am coming to gather the nations of every language. They shall come to witness my glory.” Nobody is excluded from this plan; it is open for all nations and for all peoples. There is always that feeling that sometimes comes up in us to think that we do not belong or that we have no place in God’s plan. This is always a wrong and misinformed feeling. As far as you have life in you, God’s plan of favours and blessings, but most importantly of Salvation, is still open for you. Even though God does not exclude us, it is possible that we exclude ourselves. This remains the choice and decision that is left for each individual to make. In the process of making this choice and decision, it is good to always remember that our inclination to and acceptance of God’s plan for us is never without challenges, setbacks and obstacles; and even sometimes suffering, injustice and persecution. It is so because it is never enough to choose to follow God’s plan. You must have to defend your choice on a daily basis in the face of life’s struggles, challenges and suffering. These trials in no way indicate that God has abandoned us! Rather, the Second Reading (Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13) reminds us how our difficulties and challenges are sometimes signs of God’s closeness to us; “when the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when He reprimands you… suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as His sons and daughters.” Reading through these lines, it is easy for the negative imageries of suffering to flash into our minds. But we also know that no success story has ever been a bed of roses. Even when we consider it as such, we are often reminded also that roses have thorns. In the contexts of God’s plan for us, these trials are stepping stones onto the life of glory.
Reaching this life of glory requires a certain standard that is determined by God. There are no two standards. There are no credible human standards. The path that leads to Salvation always has God’s imprint on it. As we make our journey of faith, many standards present themselves to us. Sometimes, we are deceived into following these standards as a result of our ignorance, impatience or even desire to search other shortcuts. The lamentations and rejections that Jesus spoke about in the Gospel Reading (Luke 13:22-30) are borne out of this misplacement of priorities; “we once ate and drank in Your company; You taught in our streets… I do not know where you come from.” When we are oblivious of the right Standard, it is possible to drink and eat in the company of the elect whereas the standard with which you are seeking for the manifestation of God’s plan in your life is not God’s Standard. This will be one of the greatest sources of surprises on the last day; “the last shall be first and the first last.” God’s Standard for Salvation is narrow because of its precision and because it is branded in the light, in the truth, in love and in mercy. It totally contradicts what the world offers. This Standard is Jesus Christ who came that we may have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10).
Lord our God, in the midst of all our life’s struggles, grant us the grace and the strength to stand firm in the grip of Your love and to live always according to Your Standard. May You bless and reward our respective sincere efforts both now and in eternity; Amen. Happy Sunday;
Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE
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