YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THE 20TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: REWARD OF HUMILITY
BY: Fr. Justin Nzekwe
HOMILY: We do not inherit Christianity, we only become a Christian by our choice. Many of us were born into Christian family and we are Christians because our parents baptized us at childhood into Christianity. When such people refuse to make a faith commitment as Christians by choice, they end up as nominal Christians who pay their tax as Christians, but go about with shallow faith. Though they may still claim to be Christians, yet they are far away from the Church of Christ. Such was the situation with some Jews during the time of Christ. They believe that being born a Jew is a sufficient condition for their salvation, they therefore look down at others who are not Jews as those destined to damnation. To such people, the prophet Isaiah warned, “the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath, and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” We are these foreigners, although we are not Jews by blood, but today through our faith commitment, we have become heirs of the Father, and adopted children of God. And according to Saint Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 12:13), “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given one Spirit to drink”.
Jesus in today’s gospel reading refused to listen to a Canaanite woman who came to him to ask for the deliverance of her child who was possessed by the demon. At first, Jesus neglected her request, and described salvation as a meal meant for the children which should not be thrown to the dogs. Yet Jesus could not ignore this woman’s humility which made her not to get angry, her persistence which made her not to give up on her request and her faith that her only help can come from God and no other place. This woman’s attitude corresponds to the mission of Christ to break the wall between Jews and gentiles, the included and the excluded, and to show that great faith can be found where it is least expected. Her attitude quickly draw Jesus’s attention to her request in such a way that her nationality, cultural background no longer matter any longer. All that matter for Jesus was faith. A prayer of faith has the power to change what seems impossible with the human understanding. Our Christianity is rated by our personal commitment to our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. We must be persistent with our faith regardless of the challenges that we face each day as Christians. We must not allow our pride, possessions, office we occupy and other temporal things to take us away from our goal as Christians. This Canaanite woman received a gift from Jesus which many Jews could not receive because of their pride which made them to reject Jesus. She stood her ground and let her faith spoke for her. We are therefore invited today to renew our commitment to our faith, and to choose to follow Christ everyday of our lives so that we can remain closer to Christ.
Peace be with you!