YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 19TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
THEME: FOOD FOR THE JOURNEY.
BY: Fr A. N. Abiagom, CM.
HOMILY: 1. Sometime ago, I visited the Shepherd’s Field near Bethlehem in the Palestinian region of Israel, in the company of some course mates.
2. Before setting out for that visit, I failed to take breakfast that morning. I was getting late for the trip so I decided to join the group inside the bus without breaking the night’s fast.
3. Having highlighted from the bus upon arriving at a certain junction in the west bank (Palestine), we had to walk through a high hill to the Shephed’s Field (where the shepherds recieved the Angel’s message of Christmas). Also, we ascended another hill to Bethlehem (the birthplace of Jesus Christ). At a point in our journey, I almost passed out due to bodily weakness. I thanked God I was in the company of those who took turns to assisting me complete the journey amidst my fatigue. On that day, I realized the importance of food for the journey.
4. In the first reading (I Kings 19,4-8), Elijah on his journey to the Mountain of the Lord (Horeb), was asked to get up and eat. The angel of the Lord made it indirectly explicit that the journey will be too long for him without food.
5. Life is a journey. It will be a mistake to construe life as a station. Life is a market. We are sent by God to do transaction in the market of life. One needs strength to be able to walk about inside this market while doing shopping. No one comes to the market to remain there. Time would come when the market closes, then all and sundry would return home. Nevertheless, the journey to and fro the market requires strength.
6. Elijah ate the food that was necessary to give energy to his body. However in the gospel (John 6,41-51), Jesus talks about the food of the soul. The bread which is his body. The bread which is the food for the journey into eternity life, the spiritual food that is needed for the nourishment of our souls.
7. The sacramental reception of Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist should transcend a mere participation in the Lord’s banquet. Christ is to live in us and we are to live in Christ. In other words, we are to become what we receive.
8. We cannot do without Christ. Can the fish survive outside the water? Is there a moving vehicle without petrol or any other form of energy (solar or electrical) that propels its movement? How will green plants synthesize nutrients from carbon dioxide and water without sunlight? What the sunlight is to green plants and other organisms is what Jesus is to our lives.
9. The second reading (Ephesians 4,30 – 5,2), talks about the life of that is expected of us as children of God. We are not expected to live in malice and bitterness. Our lives should be lives as of fragrant offerings unto the Lord. It is only when we configure our lives to Christ that our lives would be acceptable to God.
10. We need food for this journey of faith through life. This food we are talking about is free. There are some bodily food that only the rich can afford. There are some that only the healthy can eat. However, this food which is Jesus himself, cuts across all levels of humanity. It is available for both the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick, the free and the slave. It cuts across every race and tribe. Only at the Lord’s table are all and sundry equal.
Conclusion: There is no excuse anyone of us can give not to get up and eat this food for the journey. May the peace of the Lord remain with us all (Amen).