HOMILY FOR THE 23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: Self-Sacrifice and commitment: A sine qua non for authentic Christian living.
BY: Mayoolla Mulumba
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 4 2022
Readings: R1 Wis 9:13-18, Ps: 90: 3-6. 12-14, R2: Phlm. 9: 10: 12-17, Gosp: Lk.14: 25-33)
Dear brethren, today the twenty third Sunday of ordinary time, year C, the church celebrates the spirit of self-sacrifice and commitment of Christ. The spirit of self-sacrifice motivates one to do the unimaginable. It was this spirit that made Jesus to give up everything, including His own life for our sake. So today, we are called to imitate Christ in the same spirit.
Today’s first reading (Wisdom 9:13-18b) was composed in Alexandria shortly before the birth of Christ, is a conclusion of king Solomon’s prayer for Divine wisdom. The reading draws our attention to the depth of the wisdom of God. He alone knows His intentions for humanity. In Wisdom 9:17, this reading describes God as ‘ALL KNOWING GOD'( OMNI SCIENT) who knows and performs all things well and have given men a share in this Divine wisdom. However, this intention has been fully revealed in Christ who willingly sacrificed Himself in order to save us. So, it is the spirit of wisdom that helps us to penetrate into the mystery of God’s intention revealed in Christ. In this way, this mystery lives among us.
In the second reading,(Philemon 9:10,12-17, Paul (in prison) sent back Onesimus to Philemon in the spirit of sacrifice. Although Paul needed Onesimus and had every right to retain him, he allowed him to return to his former master Philemon who equally needed him. Philemon also had to sacrifice something. He has to drop all his misgiving against Onesimus. So, he was admonished to receive Onesimus (which means profitable) as a brother rather than as a slave.
Hence, Paul teaches us that we can equally sacrifice our own comfort in order to restore that of others. Also, we must be ready to make some sacrifices in order to repair and restore relationships. There is nothing we cannot sacrifice for the sake of God and humanity.
In today’s gospel, Luke 14: 25-33, Jesus invites us to imbibe His spirit of self-sacrifice and commitment in order to be His true disciples. In Luke 14:26 He says: “If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife…and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple.”
What does Christ mean by “hating”? He simply teaches and call us to us to learn how to make sacrifice, and to be committed to our missions and calls. Thus abandoning those things that are Anti- Christianity in our everyday lives.
Christ is not literarily calling us to hate the members of our family in order to be His disciples. He loved and obeyed His own parents. Also, His mother Mary was one of His first and best disciples. So, we too must love members of our family. He is not in any way preaching the Gospel of hatred. Rather, He wants us to be more committed to His ministry. He wants us to be willing to sacrifice our own comfort whenever duty calls.
A notable Priest from Poland
(St.Maximilian Kolbe) did this in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1941 by offering his life for a fellow prisoner, so that he might live to take care of his family. Christ wants us to imbibe such spirit of sacrifice and commitment.
The fundamental question for today is: Am I ready to make Sacrifices and be committed as Christians?
To be Christ’s disciple, means being ready to make sacrifices. Carrying our cross and following Christ also means subduing our own will in order to do His Will. That is, being ready to give up anything. Without commitment and sacrifice, we remain attached to our will, and so, cannot be true disciples of Christ. Without it, we cannot see the needs of others.
Finally dear brethren, commitment and sacrifice help us to give up anything in order to gain all. It disposes us to be better disciples of Christ. It helps us to be better husbands, wives, parents, students and children. It helps us to be better leaders and even servants. In the spirit of commitment and sacrifice, the wisdom of God becomes fully alive and active in us as on the day of Pentecost. It also helps us to deepen our trust in God’s divine providence and protection. Therefore, let us pray confidently with the psalmist “O Lord you have been my refuge from one generation to the next”. (Ps.90:1)
May God God help us to learn how to make Sacrifices, and be commited till the end of time, Amen!