HOMILY FOR THE 23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: CARRY YOUR CROSS & FOLLOW JESUS
BY: FR. GODWIN ALKALI, CSSp.
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 4 2022
READINGS: Wis 9.13-18; Ps: 90; Phlm 9.10. 12-17; Lk 14, 25-33
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, every cross has an owner. Thus, while cross-carrying is advisable, it is more important and rewarding to carry your own cross. But, unfortunately, one may go through life carrying the wrong cross without knowing.
Therefore, on this 23rd Sunday of Year C, the liturgy of the word encourages us to carry our own Cross with patience and follow Jesus Christ.
In today’s first reading, the book of Wisdom teaches us to have patience and not to think that we immediately understand the ways of the Lord. Today, many people don’t even believe in God while others seem to believe that they are His spokesperson and interpret His word according to their own pleasure.
The second reading indicates that even difficult situations, such as slavery, can be lived in the Lord. That is not a justification for slavery. It is a simple acceptance that no matter what happens, we can find the presence of God in every situation. The situation of Onesimus, Philemon’s servant should be an example for us.
Today’s Gospel speaks about the commitment of discipleship. Jesus asserts that to follow Him will cost us everything even as it gives us everything. We must be willing to give up all in order to walk with the Lord. That makes people unhappy today. Jesus ask us to leave behind our families, our wealth, our houses, etc. He asks us to carry out cross daily and follow him. This is all for the sake of the Kingdom.
TAKE HOME LESSONS
1. Carrying your cross is a very productive way of identifying with the Lord. Beloved, your cross could be that health situation challenging you? Your spouse, children, or other people around you who bring sadness instead of joy, and you must put up with their excesses. It could be what you are passing through now!
2. In life, there is always a cross to carry, but the good news is that when you take your own cross and go after the Lord, he will see you through it all.
3. We are invited to have strong foundations for our faith, to live in wisdom and to recognize the hand of God in all that happens to us.
Carrying your cross is not enough; you need to come after the Lord while carrying it. Someone can carry their cross and go in the wrong direction.
4. The cross of Jesus Christ was beyond that piece of wood. It was a symbolic representation of the load of our sins and the punishment that is due to them. The prophecy of Isaiah (53:4-5) captures it very well when he says: “He took up our pain and bore our suffering….
5. Our Lord Jesus is addressing us today as he did to those traveling with him to Jerusalem. But, of course, most people would prefer traveling with the miracle-working Jesus and not the suffering and crucified Lord.
6. Jesus’ words seem terrifying: “Anyone who comes to me without hating father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26). For sure, the preacher of love is not asking us to hate the very people who we love so naturally.
At the same time we shouldn’t water down the demand of Jesus
7. My beloved brothers and sisters, Do I have wisdom to recognize what the Lord is asking of me here and now? Do I have the inner courage to follow the Lord, no matter what He asks of me? Am I willing to see every aspect of my life, here and now, in the light of God’s love for me?
This is a real challenge to people of our own times who follow Jesus with the belief that he will solve all their problems associated with the human condition. Jesus invites us today to seek not the consolation of God, but the God of consolation.
8. 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, and children. It helps us to be better leaders and even servants.
9. Recall that Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). The point here is that your cross is valuable only when it aligns with the Lord. So, there must be a “Christification” of every cross we carry; otherwise, it will be meaningless.
PEACE BE WITH YOU ALL
FR. GODWIN ALKALI, CSSp.