HOMILY FOR THE NINETEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME OF THE YEAR A
HOMILY THEME: “COURAGE! IT IS I! DO NOT BE AFRAID.”
BY: Fr. Unachukwu Cyril CCE
In doubt we give in to fear and in fear we forget who we are, we lose contact with our source of strength and with that which sustains us; we become disarmed of our spiritual powers. May Jesus always dispel our fears with a touch of His hands and strengthen always our little faith; Amen.
In the First Reading of today (I Kgs 19:9; 11-13) we heard of Elijah’s unique experience of God in “the sound of a gentle breeze.” This was a decisive moment for the prophet who was already blown out by the fiery threat of Queen Jezebel. At this point in his mission, the prophet was consumed by fear that he forgot the very omnipotent power he has within. Elijah’s sojourn into the cave was never for any form of retreat but borne out of fear of the unknown. It was made clear that “then he was afraid, and he arose and went for his life” (I Kgs 19:3). In this despair he even wished to die for he “came and sat down under a broom tree; and he asked that he might die, saying, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers” (I Kgs 19:4). The same prophet who in the name of God and under his anointing slew 450 prophets of Baal is now out of fear running away from the threat of Queen Jezebel. This unique encounter with God in the First Reading, after the two visits of an angel to him in a dream in which he was fed in the two occasions and after his ascent up to Mount Horeb, was a moment of re-strengthening! Fear makes one loose contact with his or her source of power! Fear can make one, in front of an enemy, to forget he or she has a gun in the hand. But God has His own ways of reminding us of the power of His of presence in us and around us.
Humanly speaking, there are moments when it is ordinarily normal to be afraid. On the other hand, when we are or become aware of the spiritual power inside, within and around us, it becomes spiritually abnormal to confront moments of this type with fear. This is because the spiritual power within us is always stronger! The same power that made Peter in the Gospel Reading (Mt 14:22-33) to say “Lord if it is you; tell me to come to you across the water.” The same Power that said to Peter without equivocation “come.” The same power that saw Peter “walking towards Jesus across the water.” That same power said to him “why did you doubt man of little faith.” The power of faith, of our faith in the person of Jesus Christ the Lord, of our faith in “the God of Jesus Christ.” Nothing far removes us from the potence of our faith than fear and of course, fear is often the fruit of doubt, the fear of committing ourselves to the certainty of our faith, the very faith we may have doubted.
Beyond the distraction of our doubts and fears, we must always remember the potence of our spiritual lineage; the grace of our adoption as sons and daughters of God; the patriarchs and saints and many others around us now through whom God has manifested in clear terms the everlasting presence of His power amongst us; and most certainly of our sublime prodigy of being coheirs with “Christ who is above all, God for ever blessed! Amen” (Rom 9:1-5). With this in mind we can always affirm in faith and trust, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) and remember always His perennial assurance to us “courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.”
May the grace of God firmly establish us in the potence of our faith and of God’s presence in us and lead us to live beyond every setback of fear and doubt; Amen. Happy Sunday.