YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THE 18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: TRUE CHRISTIAN SACRIFICE
BY: Fr. Justin Chukwunonso Nzekwe
HOMILY: The gospel reading of today reminds us of the two faces of Christianity; the face of joy and that of suffering. As Christians, we are meant to partake of the joy of Christianity which is a foretaste of the joy of the Kingdom of God. Jesus did not only preach the word of God, but also multiplied bread for the people to eat and be satisfied. He did this miracle not only to build the faith of the people, but also to their bodily need. The bible recorded that Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of bread only twice, and at other times, he merely dismissed the people after preaching the Word of God to them.
This implies that Jesus is more interested in the Spiritual food, more than the physical food which satisfied the people’s hunger temporarily. Also, in many other passages of the bible, Jesus healed the sick, cast of out demons, made the lame to walk, restored sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear, raised the dead, and did other miracles out of his passion to liberate people and to restore joy to them and their loved ones.
However, Christianity is not only about all these miracles, sometimes suffering is part of the process of purification of our soul. If God never permitted sufferings, problems, temptations and troubles while on earth, he would not have sent his only son on earth to die on the cross because of our sins. Jesus said in the gospel of John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcomed the world!” Our attitude to sufferings and problems are very important. At our moments of suffering, when it seems there is no immediate solution to our problems, what do we do? Do we lose hope, cry, think a lot, ask God questions, or even curse God? Or do we pray more, trust God, and even ready to offer our sufferings to God for the sake of our sins or that of others? What do we do?
According to the gospel of today, Jesus heard about the death of John the Baptist and with pain, he went to a lonely place to pray. While the second reading of today puts this question to us, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us.” I do not know the current difficult situations you are going through right now. Is it health problems, family problem, unemployment or even spiritual problem? Are you heartbroken? Have you been disappointed by people you trusted so much? Have your parent, child, friend, neighbor, relative turned against you? Have you even disappointed yourself? Have you prayed so much and yet it seem God have not answered your prayer? I can assure you that you are still more than conqueror through Christ who loves you. Don’t let your problems make you to forget your exulted position as a child of God. Believe me, it will soon be over. You are still a victor in Christ. Christ still loves us and will surely save us.