Homily for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: Purpose of our call to discipleship
By: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
Homily for Sunday January 30 2022
Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
1 Cor. 12:31- 13:13
My dear friends in Christ, our liturgy today invites us to reflect on the purpose of our call to discipleship – to be prophetic in our world. Hence, speaking the truth in love, opposition and rejection are some of the key words that help to focus on this central message of today’s liturgy. The readings focus our attention on our call to prophetic mission; a call to speak the truth in love. Since the prophet is sent to speak the truth, his message risks opposition and rejection.
The first reading of today presents us with the call of the prophet Jeremiah who is chosen by God even before he was born. The task of a prophet is our task too as Christians, and this is to stand up and tell the world what the Lord has commanded us. “I have appointed you as prophet to the nations… stand up and tell them all I command you.”
Going through the scriptures, the experiences of the prophets are one of rejection, persecution, suffering and death. Bearing all these likely consequence of prophethood in mind, we are likely to be afraid and run away from our call. But our first reading goes further to remind and assure us that God is our refuge. “They will fight against you but shall not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you.” Because we have not called and chosen ourselves for this prophetic task, God Himself has fortified us against all opposition. “For it is I this day who have made you a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of brass, against the whole land…” So there is no reason for us to be timid as Christians. No reason to be afraid!
In the Gospel we see Jesus Christ too sharing in the experience of the prophets. He was rejected by the people, yet he spoke with authority and boldness. If only we can rely on and trust in God like the psalmist to deliver us, since he formed us and knew us before we were born and has promised to deliver us.
But to be good prophets and to be effective in bearing witness to Christ, we are called to exercise our prophet mission with and in love. Whatever we do should be motivated by love. Without the kind of love that St. Paul speaks about, we are set to fail. Our love must be patient, kind, never jealous, ready to forgive, ready to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. This kind of love is a very powerful driving force. This tells and reminds us that it is not our eloquence that matters, but our clear witness to God’s love. God’s love is within us, and it is the foundation of our prophetic life. When we allow ourselves to be embraced by God’s love, then God’s love in turn can overflow into the world around us.
*Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya*