YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THE 29TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (MISSION SUNDAY)
HOMILY THEME: GOD’S WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY: God is ever mysterious in His ways. God’s actions bring us always to recognise the mystery of His existence and how limited is our knowledge of Him and how much more we need to know of Him. One of such mysterious is how the Eternally One, Triune, Spiritual, Uncreated and Holy God governs and intervenes in the fundamentally transient and created universe. The mystery made more understandable and accessible in the mystery of the Incarnation. May we always be humble and open before the mystery of God’s being and actions as to receive their eternal merits; Amen.
God’s use of the pagan king Cyrus remained a mystery to the people of Israel. How can the all holy God of Israel, align with the unholy and pagan king of the Persians to bring about the fulfilment of His desire? With the words of the Prophet Isaiah in the First Reading (Isaiah 45:1, 4-6), God spoke of the Persian King Cyrus as His “anointed, whom he has taken by his right hand to subdue nations before him and strip the loins of kings.” God went on to speak to King Cyrus; “though you do not know me, I arm you that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that, apart from me, all is nothing.” The story of Cyrus remains an affirmation of the truth that God is the source of all powers and authorities in heaven and on earth; and that God can use anybody to accomplish His purpose. Sometimes, it is difficult for some to accept this fact, especially when one begins to consider himself or herself as the arbiter of the ordinances and prospects of the Temporal Order. Understanding the truth of this one fundamental Source of all powers and all authority makes it easier and clearer in understanding the link between the City of God and the City of men and women; namely, the Eternal Order and the Temporal Order (the Eternal City and the Transitory City).
As human being, we cannot authentically belong to the Eternal City of God if we fell to contribute our quota in building up and sustaining the temporal city of men and women. This is part of the central messages in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti ; namely, that we are brothers and sisters and that it behoves on all of us to join hands in creating a responsible social order and in helping each other to properly harness our God-given talents. The Christian message charges us to make the world a better place so that all may fittingly prepare for the world to come in this world that passes. Making the world a better place involves fulfilling our civic responsibilities inspired by the values of the Gospel of Christ. Making the world a better place involves ensuring the establishment of a healthy temporal order by our proper use of the means which the Almighty and Divine Creator has put at our disposal. This is what it truly means to “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”; the very words that we heard from Christ in the Gospel Reading of today (Mt 22:15-21). When our responsibility to Caesar is fulfilled in faith and trust in God, we not only give to Caesar, but we are also opening ourselves to God; because it is the will of God that the Temporal Order remains a conducive place where His sons and daughters can truly realise themselves and work towards the salvation which is His wish and will for all. Protesting against any form of social-cultural or political structure that militates against the tranquillity and calm of the Temporal Order, as is the case in present day Nigeria, is a sign of responsibility and of positive response to that which God wishes all His sons and daughters. In the midst of the present tension in the world and faced with the agitations for a better world order and the sincere effort for the preservation of the earth, it becomes irresponsible to close ourselves from faith, hope and love. It is paramount that the words of Saint Paul in the Second Reading (I Thess 1:1-5) be said of each and every one of us that “we constantly remember before God our Father how you have shown your faith in action, worked for love and persevered through hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ.” A true Christian, inspired by faith, hope and love, positively responds to God and positively and creatively impacts the society. These three make the difference! They direct the course of the Church! They make of us missionaries in order to share with others the truth of what we believe, the joy of what we hope for and the splendour of the love we profess. Faith, hope and love inform and reform us to value most the gift of life and to eschew all forms of violence, brutality, insensitivity and corruption and to reject all the vices that make the Temporal Order an unhealthy and an unconducive sphere to fittingly prepare, personally and collectively, for eternity.
Father of Mercy, as we humbly open ourselves to the mystery of Your Being, revealed in Christ, made comprehensible by the power of the Holy Spirit and handed on by the Church, make of each and every one of us true missionaries, that inspired by faith, hope and love, we may contribute our quota in building a just social order; Amen.
Happy Mission Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE
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