YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 23RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Put on the right attitudes towards one another.
BY: Rev. Fr Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
HOMILY: READINGS: Colossians 3: 12-17 Ps. 150, Luke 6: 27-38
When God made his commandments with the people of Israel (humans) one expected him to state only how he wants man to behave towards him and solely about himself and not man. It was not man’s commandment with his fellow man but it turned out to be so. Out of Ten Commandments he have to man as a code of relationship with him, he made only three to be about himself and man directly and the rest seven to be about man and his fellow man. One would wonder why he made it so. I remember that he made man in his own image and likeness and also Jesus said: Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers you did it to me. This was why when Saul went into persecution of his fellow human beings (Christians) he accosted him at Damascus road and said: Saul why are you persecuting me. It is inferred then that God lives in man and feels hurt when man is ill-treated by his fellow man. Little wonder St John said that you cannot say that you love God who you cannot see when you hate your fellow humans that you can see. Children of God, all these signal to the fact that God has great interest in the affairs of man and the relationship that exists among them.
Beloved, St Paul clearly towed this line in the first reading when he called fellow Christians “Brethren” which means related in the bond of the Spirit in Christ. He gave us the qualities of being made God’s chosen people holy people and beloved by God and in God. His admonition was clear and based on true love in the way we treat one another who belongs to the brotherhood called brethren. Our life must be clothed in kindness towards each other. Kindness does not count on wrongs like Paul said in his description of what love does not do (1 Cor. 13: 1ff). Kindness is not legalistic and not looking at one’s weakness and wrongs but shows sympathy. We are called to live the life of meekness and lowliness which implies humility and simplicity. It makes one to see himself or herself as nothing too important than others rather see others as more important and be considered first. He admonished us to have the virtue of patience which is tolerance and forbearance. We are to wait and watch while things happen without making quick conclusion and being reactionary; this is what patience and forbearance means. He recognizes that we may be offended by one another and that none is a saint but bundle of imperfect beings and so there may be times when complaint would arise. In it we must apply love as we do so as to be able to excuse the person for good intentions not with the mind of condemnation. This then leads to the very important recommended Christian virtue of FORGIVENESS. All these are only possible when we put on genuine and sincere love as permanent garment. The only binding force of brethren is true love which is sacrificial and forgiving. Love brings the reign of Christ’s peace in our life. No soul can ever have peace when forgiveness and patience are lacking in the heart. The word of Christ that must dwell richly in us is peace in love. The wisdom expected in us must contain love, peace, patience and forbearance; these are signs and proofs of wisdom of God in any man or woman.
Beloved, any action of a Christian that is not done because and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ is incomplete and imperfect. It cannot be praiseworthy before God and not rewarding. It is because of this that Jesus had to admonish us in today’s gospel to make our love know no bounds. It should not be discriminatory or conditional; it should not be by choice of person for any reason but spread across every human being. The Christian law and charity compels us to extend the love even to our enemies; this is a very hard demand and the proof of sincere Christ-like love and being truly Christian. It compels you to do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, overlook the wrongs done intentionally against you by others. It commands us to practice charity towards all in need and who asks. This commands us not to be judgmental of others rather be merciful as the Father is to us. We are to be guided by the law that the measure we give to others shall be same measures we must receive and that whatever we do not wish to be done to us we must resist doing it to others.
I pray that we may each time and in every circumstance remember that love of neighbour is the summary of the Law and shows love of God. I pray that God will give us the grace to be truly Christian and undertake the hard Christian demands of loving even our enemies and doing good things to all who do harm to us. Lord Jesus! It is difficult; let your grace be sufficient for us in this life, Amen.
Rev. Fr Callistus Emenyonu, cmf