HOMILY FOR THE 22ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A.
THEME: ON FOLLOWING CHRIST…
BY: Fr. Arthur Ntembula.
(Jeremiah 20:7-9, Romans 12:1-2, Matthew 16:21-27)
To be a disciple of Jesus means understanding the cross’s significance and being ready to carry it. It is a life of devotion and sacrifice for Christ. Anyone who wants to follow Jesus should be prepared to endure suffering in their spirit and body. They should be willing to sacrifice the best part of their life for the sake of others. Those who remain steadfast until the end will receive Christ’s crown of everlasting joy.
When we face difficulties, we can find hope in Jesus. He himself suffered greatly, so he understands our struggles. Despite facing intense opposition, Jesus remained committed to fulfilling his mission from the Father. He endured unbearable pain and even death on the cross. As his followers, we should be ready to face opposition and challenges, knowing that Christ is with us every step of the way. We can find strength to carry our own crosses, knowing that we are conquerors in Christ. Let us not look back but press on to the finish line. This is what it truly means to be a disciple of Christ.
In the first reading, we hear about Jeremiah’s lamentation. As a prophet of God, he faced many difficult moments and almost gave up. However, the power of God kept burning within him, urging him on. Despite the hostile environment, he couldn’t suppress his zeal as a servant of God. Against all odds, he continued to proclaim God’s word because he believed in God’s protection.
Jesus describes the life of those to be disciples in the gospel, similar to Jeremiah’s situation. He says, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Discipleship and the cross are inseparable. Suffering is an integral part of following Christ. Jesus never promised an easy journey, but He assured us of His presence to alleviate the burden. We must remain firm in faith as we bear the pains of life. When we carry the cross for Christ, He carries it with us, so it no longer weighs us down. Through our suffering, we find fulfilment in having endured with and for Him.
As followers of Christ, we must be prepared to face persecution for speaking the truth. We should even be willing to go to jail for standing up for justice. Our ultimate goal should be to live a life of sacrifice and service, even if it means sacrificing our own life for others. When we give up our life for Christ, we gain much more in His kingdom. As believers, we should always be filled with God’s power to promote goodness and truth and to challenge falsehood in all its forms.
Is it not true that sometimes we stand with falsehood to secure our lives? So, Jesus asks, “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” Does it profit us anything of value by being Christians of convenience? Is it worth it to incubate injustice, corruption, moral degradation, and other forms of evil for personal gain? Are we not sacrificing truth and integrity for a few coins? How many people are willing to give false testimonies for money in our courts of law? In public institutions, how many people choose to remain silent when they witness wrongdoing out of fear of losing their jobs? Many of us are concerned with securing our lives here on earth, but is it worth risking eternal life, as Jesus asks?
St. Paul urges us to become more like God so that we can have the ability to recognise His will in every situation we encounter. We should willingly offer ourselves to God and become a living sacrifice for the sake of the lives of others. When we do this, we attain eternal life in God, even though we may lose our earthly life. It is better to lose everything and gain eternal life in Jesus Christ. Therefore, to be faithful disciples, we must forsake our love for the world and worldly security by focusing on loving Christ alone. Discipleship may be painful, but the rewards are great in Christ.
ENJOY YOUR LITURGY
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