YEAR A: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 23RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Seek the things that are above; put to death what is earthly in you.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
HOMILY: READINGS: Colossians 3: 1-11, Ps. 145, Luke 6:20-26
St Paul counted everything he had that human beings can boast of as nonsense and was only proud to boast in Christ Jesus. For him Christ is his supreme advantage. This was what made him to focus on being built in Christ, rooted in Christ and established firmly in faith. Today he has furthered his teaching by admonishing the flocks of Christ to know what is really important in their life. He reminds them by this teaching that their homeland in heaven and should concentrate on it. Paul made it clear that even though we are in the world and doing many things for God and humanity in the world yet we are not of the world. The world is just a temporary place of passage and an enabler to do the will of God and get prepared to go back to heaven. He means to remind us that we are here as Ambassadors of Christ and should strive to represent the one we are standing in for; the one who sent us. He reminds the Christians of Colossae that they in baptism have been raised heavenly with Christ and so must seek the things that are above in heaven not the things of this earth. By implication he tells us to be detached from earthly things and benefit and be attached to heavenly things.
Beloved, there are signs to know those who are seeking heavenly things and those who are earthly. Jesus told us in John 6: 63 that the Spirit gives life and the flesh death and St Paul asks us to work by the spirit and never to gratify the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). The things of the spirit are obvious and mentioned as well as the things of the flesh. When we seek the things of the flesh we are earthly and its end is destruction. When we live by the spirit then we are heavenly in seeking and the result is life eternal. Paul in his charity did not hesitate to mention the things that signal to earthly life. The fruits of earthly life are: immorality and impurity which are from the same root. It is the impure heart that produces immoral acts, words and thoughts. Immoral things make us impure. To be immoral is to gratify the desires of the flesh and live sinfully by the use of our bodies and senses. It is the unspiritual way of using the mind and body and senses of the human being. The mind senses and bodies are made by God and so are amoral but their bad and unspiritual use of them make us immoral and that defiles us making us impure in words, acts and thoughts. It is the wrong handling of our passion that makes us impure through immoral acts. Passion is not wrong except when it leads to sinful acts and so we are advised to manage well our passion. Good passion (emotion) can be for Christ and the good of humanity and salvation of our souls. Every passion is not sinful and not earthly. When the minds, senses and body are filled with impurity our desires become evil which can lead us to so many evil things. Impure heart makes us to be covetous and that is an evil longing for what we are not supposed to do or posses. It makes us to worship and obey our desires making it idolatrous.
Beloved, Paul reminds us that doing these sinful earthly things brings the wrath of God upon us. This may have been the way we lived in the past but as those who have come to know God and who answer Christians it should not be so again. To remain belonged to the league of Christ we must make every effort to put off the following: anger (uncontrolled, quick and excessive ones), wrath, malice, slander, lies and foul talk from our mouth. The presence of these habits in us makes us sinful and earthly in behaviour. Many of us today have taken lies as a way of life and made it very venial and nothing yet it is lack of love and hateful act against others. It is contravening the dictates of faith and Christian principles. We lie to deceive, to lure people to do wrong, to confuse people and convince them. We lie to make money in business and at work place for evil gains.
Beloved, the beatitudes we are given in the gospel of today are benefits to those who seek heavenly things. If one is denied of any of them: Kingdom of God, satisfaction, lasting laughter, heavenly reward then it means that the person sought for earthly things and did not follow the heavenly path of being poor in spirit, hungry for the good, weeping for what is evil and hating them, being reviled and hated for the sake of Christ. Doing the contrary brings a lot of woes as seen in the ending of today’s gospel.
I pray that we may realise our real homeland, where we came from and where we are going back to. I pray that we may daily remember that we have been raised with Christ by our calling and so have become citizens of heaven, children of the house of the Lord who will go to the Father, in the Son through the Spirit. May God grant us the grace to know and to retain our status as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation and a people set apart to sing the glory and praises of God who called us out of darkness into his own wonderful light; that once we were no people of Christ but have now been made a people, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf