SUNDAY HOMILY FOR THE 19TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
THEME: FEEDING OUR SOULS
BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
HOMILY: 1 King 19:4-8
On this Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, “feeding our souls” is the message that shines forth from the Scripture readings that we have just heard. I feel the Lord must be pleased with our gathering today for this purpose of feeding our souls with the Word of God and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Beloved in Christ, if we desire to be where God is, then we have to see our earthly existence as a journey towards our eternal home where God our Father awaits us. More so, we would equally know that we are on a long journey. If we are on a long journey to our eternal home, then we should bear in mind that no earthly food can give us the strength required for this journey, apart from the food which comes from eternity itself.
Elijah we are told goes to sleep after a day’s journey. Why did Elijah go into the wilderness in the first place? It was because of his fear of the threat of the queen Jezebel. Likewise, many of us are threatened by different situations in our life and we are afraid. And we think the best solution is to flee from one ‘power house’ to another, from one baba to another mama, from one pastor to another Aafa, from one Prayer house to another shrine. These are all wilderness where our survival is even more threatened. So after wandering hopelessly in the world, from pillar to post, we recline to sleep – giving up and surrendering ourselves to spiritual death.
Many of us Christians are actually dying thinking we are taking restful sleep. We are dying because our soul is weak from malnourishment. But the grace of God is always touching us, to wake us from our slumber to awareness of the living water, which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit and to awareness of the living bread, the Holy Eucharist. But as weak as we could be, many of us like Elijah having been nourished with the bread of heaven, would go back to sleep – relapsing back into sin, because we fail to understand the purpose for which we are being nourished with the bread from heaven. But we are again and again asked to wake from our slumber and eat, lest the journey become too unbearable for us.
Beloved in Christ, if we are privileged to receive the Eucharist, we should be thankful, because it is God Himself who draws us near to Christ His only Son for nourishment. That is why Jesus said to his audience “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.” So we have to ask ourselves “Do we truly learn from the Father after hearing His word in the Scriptures and the Homily?” Going to communion has become a routine for many of us such that we do not even see a relationship between the word of God (Christ) broken for us at the pulpit and the same Christ broken for us at the altar of sacrifice. It is through the proclamation of the word that God prepares our soul for the reception of the bread from heaven – Jesus Christ.
So do we think about what we are doing when we go to communion? Do we see it as a healing power? Do we see it as partaking in Jesus’ death to give us life? Do we discover the peace that comes with communion? Does the Eucharist influence our lives during the week? Many of us think Christianity is best practiced inside the Church. NO is my answer. Why?! You might want to ask. I would say, the bulk of our life is lived outside the Church, in our homes, offices, shops, market places and many other public places. These are places where we are called to live out our Christian life. For those who have been excluded from partaking of Holy Communion, we should not miss what the Eucharist stands for simply because we cannot partake of it.
I hope that each one of us will spend few moments this week, asking ourselves these questions, and if it has become something of a routine for us with little meaning, let us try to discover the true meaning and how it can affect our life for the better. Does receiving communion lead us to what Paul tells us today – “to be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Christ forgave us and sacrificed himself for us, the fruits of which we receive in the Eucharist. Our kindness, compassion, and forgiveness are our own fragrant offerings to God the Father pleasing to the Holy Spirit. May God continue to draw us nearer to Christ His son.
I am thine O Lord, I have heard Thy voice
And it told of Thy love to me
But I long to rise in the arms of Faith
And be closer drawn to thee
Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where thou hast died
Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord
To thy precious bleeding side.
Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya