Short homily for the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: AFTER THE HEAVENLY MODEL
BY: Fr Livinus C. Igbodekwe
Homily for Sunday February 20 2022
In modern times, modeling has become a lucrative venture that most youths vie to be addressed as ‘models’. They put in a lot into that enterprise just to look as fashionable as possible. They can go for any form of surgery to boost their elegance and standards of beauty. Some become models of transgender, while others models of the fashion world. All these are ways of going back to the earthly model – Adam. The world ruled by the sense of sight and all its allures, appetites and seductions cannot be far away from Eden. The worldly standards governed by instinctual pleasures, emotional enthronements and fleshly adornments are standards after the old man, Mr Flesh. The impact of these lifestyles is pride and arrogance which are the chief of all sins. When pride of self is present, greed, anger, promiscuity are present too.
The modern man emphasizes the “Open eyes” which we can understand as “Enlightenment” – New ways of seeing things. Is this not the same temptation that confronted Adam and Eve in the Garden before the fruit and the serpent? They ate and their eyes opened and the spiritual garment of grace was stripped off their bodies that they beheld their nakedness? After the nakedness followed the passing of the buck of guilt that landed man into a different world of hostility. The man against the ground, the woman against the serpent and the serpent against the seed of the woman. The seed of hatred was passed down the generations. Cain killed Abel and the story keeps repeating itself till the present day.
However, some men followed the example of the righteous Abel and became God’s men while others followed the example of Cain and became bad men. David was one of the men who followed after Abel the man of peace and righteousness. God ‘fell in love’ with David not because of anything than that he has a ‘right heart’. He always seeks God’s mind before going after things. Instances abound on this. He was God’s man. There’s no other way of growing a right heart than by having a listening heart. David knows that there’s many ways that seem right unto a man of which the end is death (Prov. 14:12). Righteousness is not about what seems right but what is actually right.
In the first reading, David saw his ‘rival-enemy’, Saul in a precarious situation. This scenario could be seen as either a devil’s set up or a divine set up or trial. Both are correct because there are always two ways to any moral action. It may be that the devil was watching to see God’s man, David commit murder out of a vengeful spirit or that God was closely watching David to see how he responds towards his sworn enemy, King Saul. The spear was pinned to the ground near Saul’s head, and he was fast asleep beside his water jar. What a scene! David may have tiptoed stealthily with his companions and stood beside the body of Saul, wondering what to do with him. Abishai represents his fleshly, emotive side which suggests “Pin him to the ground once and for all.” That’s the most natural thing to do. But a spiritual man will do better than that. He will first of all ask, “Who is Saul that I should kill him?”. A divine whispering comes, “God’s anointed King”. Then David is put into a right mind for a right action as he says, “Do not kill him, for who can lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed?” David didn’t live in the days of Jesus to know how to act towards an enemy yet he acted right. Why? Because God’s ways have remained the same at all times and in all places. What God calls evil in the Old Testament is what He calls evil in the New Testament. David becomes a model after the heavenly model, Our Lord and Ssviour, Jesus Christ.
In the Gospel, Jesus teaches us a happy way to act in the face of hostility which I understand as “Going the extra mile.” Jesus raises the standard of righteousness to the height of positive impact. He doesn’t tell us to remain silent when we are slapped, but to positively turn the other cheek as an impacting message to the offender. He doesn’t tell us to cry when someone robs us of our goods, but to give him/her more in charity as a positive response that it is better to ask and receive to to steal and offend. What a beautiful heavenly standard that can change the offender and relieve the offended!
This is the standard or model after which a Christian’s life should be fashioned. By positive impacts in the face of negativities, the Christian can still be happy, save the sinner and make the world a better place.
Happy Sunday in advance!