HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
By: Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY THEME: THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
The Christian faith puts us into motion; a progressive movement away from darkness into light; from worldliness to godliness; from sinfulness to holiness of life; and most importantly from the ignoble and pitiable condition of Adam and Eve to the noble and priestly Family of God in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. To make a backward and retrogressive movement from what the Christian faith inspires is to demean our dignity as sons and daughters of God and to begin a journey that leads us to lose all we worked for. May God keep us firm and steady in doing His will always; Amen.
The two sons in the Gospel Reading of today (Mt 21:28-32) bring us to reflect on the dynamics of this progressive spiritual movement inspired by the Christian faith in our daily lives. The second son said yes to His Father’s request but never carried it out. The first son said no, but later changed his mind and carried out his Father’s wish. The movement that the Christian faith inspires in us brings about a positive change that leads us to always positively respond to God our Father. This positive response is indispensable because the Christian faith is not only about the articulation of creeds in the form of words to be believed and to be personally and communally professed. The Christian faith is also about putting into practice that which is believed and professed, making these articles of faith the guiding principles of our lives. It is in the very nature of the Christian Faith to be believed and to be put into practice.
To positively respond to God concretely begins at that moment when one decides to dissociate oneself from old ungodly ways. This was the case with the tax collectors and prostitutes who were “making their way into the Kingdom of God.”
They were on the move away from their former sinful and destructive ways to the New Path that leads to salvation in Christ, assisted by the grace of God. In their old ways, they said no to God but in the New Path they chose, they did the wish of God our Father like the first son of the Gospel Reading. On the contrary, the chief priests and elders of the peoples, who supposedly said yes to God, were opposed to the power of God at work in Christ. Like the second son, they abandoned the will of God.
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To abandon the will of God is a dangerous path. It is a very destructive adventure that robs one of the progress already made and the success already achieved in the spiritual life. This is so because to stay with God who is the Source of all life is to have life in us. To turn away from God is to cease to truly live. Making this known to us through the prophet Ezekiel, the First Reading (Ez 18:25-28) reminds us that “when the upright man renounces his integrity to commit sin… he dies… When the sinner renounces sin to become law-abiding and honest, he deserves to live.” To reject Life is to gradually begin to die and to embrace Life is to truly begin to live. What decides our fate in this regard is the direction of our spiritual movement.
A proper and healthy spiritual movement is one made towards God; towards the Good. Such spiritual movement is inspired by faith; the faith that is proactive. Such spiritual movement leads us to positively contribute our quota to the building of the human family and to the protection and preservation of the earth our common heritage. The secret of always putting our faith into action and of a stable progressive positive spiritual movement in response to God’s invitation is seen in the kenosis of Christ as we heard in the Second Reading of today (Phil 2:1-11). In His exemplary lifestyle, our Lord Jesus, though “His state was divine, yet He did not cling to His equality with God but emptied Himself to assume the condition of a slave… but God raised Him high.” To have faith in Christ is to live the kenotic style of life; the style of life that sees its beginning and end in the doing of the will of God; in the love of God and in the love of fellow men and women. To always move towards God uplifts and to move away from God degrades. Kenosis makes the positive movement towards God possible.
Lord God, give us the grace to outgrow mere verbal profession of faith in You; to truly allow our faith in You inspire our choices and actions, so that by emptying ourselves of everything contrary to the Gospel of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, we may lightly journey back to You, our Origin and true Destination. May Your blessings be upon Nigeria and Nigerians as we mark the 63rd Anniversary of our Independence; Amen. Happy Sunday and Happy New Month;
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