YEAR A: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 13TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Respond to the call of the Lord and follow with obedience.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
HOMILY: READINGS: Gen. 23: 1-4. 19.24: 1-8, 62-67, PS. 106, Mat. 9: 9-13
The obvious thing about every human being is that we are property of God and he is our master who commands everything about our life and demands absolute obedience. Like the earthly masters, obedience to their directives makes us beloved to their hearts and fetches us goodies. When we disobey them, they hate us and unleash hash and wicked treatments upon us. Obedience is seen as the highest of the laws and little wonder holy Samuel told Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice. When a call is made the natural and correct thing to do is to give a response not to be mute. When a response is made, there should follow a listening to instructions from the caller. If heard, the expectation will be to respond adequately and appropriately according to the mind and desire of the instructor or caller. This is what happens in our relationship with God.
Beloved, in the first reading we deduced from Abraham’s instruction to his chief servant concerning his only son Isaac that God called him out of the land to where he is for a purpose. He obeyed and has done the demands of God there. After the death of Sarah the wife at a ripe age, he anticipated his own death there and felt he had accomplished his call by God. It is his belief that the reward for his belief is that his son Isaac should go back to the land of their origin and amass the promised blessing of God to have descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the sand on the sea shore. This was the reason for instructing the chief servant not to allow Isaac marry from outside so that he can go home with the wife of him hometown to inherit the promised blessing. As Abraham had this call from God and responded in obedience so he expects his chief servant to respect his instruction and call to take Isaac home and gather his bones home as well. All demands obedience to the higher authority.
If the servant disobeys, curses will follow even after Abraham’s death. Many people live in curse consequential predicaments because important instructions from masters, parents and responsible elders and authorities both civil and ecclesial are disobeyed. There is no situation where negligence and disobedience pays rather it brings retrogression and curses. Often children and servants think that instructions of old parents and bosses are obsolete and to be discarded as old school stuff. The consequences are enormous. The Igbo proverb says that what an elder sits down to see the young man stands without seeing. When a child lifts his father up, he will be covered by the father’s long robes. Not seeing, he will stumble and wound.
Beloved, even in the gospel, we saw the divine master calling Matthew from his tax office to his own office. Jesus made a demand of Matthew to come and follow him. Humanly speaking and by worldly standard of the time of Matthew he was well off and fine in that office he accepted to work. Matthew accepted human call to work under earthly master. He thought he was doing well and enjoying evil booty. Corruption made him prominent and respected by human person. He became their friend of like minds but actually he was an enemy of God. He answered a wrong call and was doing negative and evil obedience to the wrong master. He must have noticed this wrong mission by his conscience but could not help himself by stopping the habitual evil occupation. He needed a divine grace. Jesus who knows our inner longing and true heart’s desire came to his aid to save him and do for him what he could not do for himself. He called him and because he was in need of that call, he followed because grace builds upon nature.
Beloved, you are a tax collector and sinner but Jesus has come to dine with you despite people’s complaints and surprises. He makes you his priority; better respond in obedience to his call now in your life. Because of your sickness Jesus the heavenly physician has come. Cease the opportunity and be healed now.
I pray that the mercy we desire from God shall not be denied us.
May our sacrifices be merciful and attract God into our lives. May we be counted among those Jesus came for and may we hearken to his call and follow him in total obedience, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf