HOMILY FOR THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
HOMILY THEME: THE WORD ON PURPOSE
BY: Fr. Johnbosco Obika
Sometime in 2017, it was a hot afternoon, a woman was struggling to make some sales in one of the local markets before the news came from a neighbour that her son who traveled overseas more than 5 years ago without communication was back. She was overwhelmed with joy as she packed her goods and even forgot to collect money from some of her customers as she hurried home. She even stumbled and fell on her way home, but that wasn’t anything compared to the climax of joy she was experiencing as she regurgitated the words of the news, “your son is back”. Hurriedly, she ran into the house asking ‘where is my son?’. She was told, “mama go back to the market, it is April 1st, the fools’ day. The woman was heart broken. That was how her neighbour caused her joy and heartbreak with the power of words. Human words, according to J. L. Austin (a linguist and philosopher of mind), carry some locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutionary effects whereby utterances have a certain force by informing, ordering, warning, undertaking, convincing, persuading, motivating, deterring surprising or misleading others. If human words have such powers what about Divine Word? The Word of God is more powerful. It is more purposeful, meaningful and radical (it touches the root of everything). From the today’s first reading, we see the prophet Isaiah stating the power, the influence and the irrevocability of God’s Word. Those who are harbingers of God’s word and those who live by God’s Word are encouraged by St. Paul in the second reading not give up irrespective of the present difficulty they encounter because it is nothing compared to what is to come when the God of Word achieves its purpose.
The Word of God is on its purpose. From basic science we know that rain follows simple process of condensation, precipitation and evaporation. That is to say that it gathers in the atmosphere, falls on the ground and never goes back until the seeds sprout, the plants flower, their petals bloom and foods are placed on our tables. This is the simple analogy that Isaiah used to describe the word of God which does not relent until it achieves it’s purpose like the rain.
The Word on accomplished mission. From the beginning, the Word thrives and accomplished it’s intent. In Genesis, when the world was like a formless void, the Word says, “Let there be… ”, and everything came be. “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). In Matthew 9:2-8, the Word said: “Get up and walk”, and the lame walked! In Mark 5:41, the Word commanded: “Talitha Cumi”, and the little girl was restored to life. The Word came over the storm and said: “Peace, be still!” and the torrent was laid to rest! (Mark 4:39). The Word said in Matthew 26:26-27: “This is my body…this is my blood”, and through all generation his presence still remains with us in the Eucharist! The pages of the New and Old testaments are replete with the Word of God on its purpose.