YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: MESSENGERS OF TRUTH
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
The truths of the Christian faith remain the absolute guiding principles for a meaningful life here on earth. They are absolute because they are rooted in the Author of life and their main aim is to lead us back to Him who is both our origin and our ultimate end. May we both witness to and become messengers of these truths to our generation; Amen.
For five Sundays we have journeyed through the long encounter between Jesus and the Jews which started with the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand and the series of teachings that resulted from that encounter. Today’s Gospel (Jn 6:60-69) is the last part of that discourse that opens our eyes and minds to a reality that is very prevalent in our time. This involves a certain mindset and attitude that glories in convenience and would want to discard as irrelevant anything that challenges our comfort zones. This involves also an attitude that fixes our gaze on the horizontal without the courage to look up vertically; when we are guided by the motivation to explore and savour the proclivities of our human nature without an attention to the invitation we have to ascend the transient things of this world and pursue the eternal values. This was the case with Jesus’ audience that they said to Him “this is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?” This is always the case! Everybody calls on the truth but most times when the truth tramples on and exposes lies and errors that are dear to us it becomes intolerable, it becomes an enemy that must be fought. This explains the withdrawal of many of Jesus’ disciples. However, in the words of Saint Peter we see the constellation of the whole truths of our faith. Truly, “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus Christ is the totality of the truths of faith! He is truth in person and He remains the one Light that brightens the way, the one Way that leads us to our true homeland, the one Life that enlivens all things and the very Truth that sets us free!
To live in accordance with these truths of faith, there is always a moment of decision especially in the face of the indecisive confusion of our times, when the tenets of the Christian and divinely willed family life are at stake to the forces of modernism; when Christian principles are seen as obstacles to man’s full realization of himself; when the Church is seen as the greatest enemy of the enlightenment movements and modernism and must be fought and halted even if it involves fabrication of lies and false sceneries to blackmail her to silence. Joshua’s action in the First Reading (Joshua 24:1-2, 15-17, 18) teaches us what it means to decide for the truth. This involves outright rejection of error and falsehood even if every other person is on its side! This involves also open recognition and affirmation of the truth and one’s resolution to live by it. This involves concrete interpretation of one’s resolution in daily lived experiences. This Joshua did together with his family; “if you will not serve the Lord, choose today whom you wish to serve… as for me and my House, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua became the
Irrespective of how discouraging and challenging it may seem to proclaim and live the truths of our faith, we must always remember that it is not an impossibility. Certainly “the splendour of truth shines forth in all the works of the Creator and, in a special way, in man, created in the image and likeness of God. Truth enlightens man’s intelligence and shapes his freedom, leading him to know and love the Lord” (Veritatis Splendor, n. 1). It is by truly living according to these truths and principles that we contradict the world and invite and prepare our brothers and sisters to experience the love and power of God in the Church as the Family of God and to relish God’s gift of salvation. It is by living according to these truths that we demonstrate that intimate relationship between Christ and the Church that Saint Paul in matrimonial terms explained to us in the Second Reading (Eph 5:21-32). The Church that is the body of Christ must emit in every aspect of her life and activities the rays of the light of truth (Veritatis Splendor), for Christ her head is the Light of the world (Lumen Gentium) and He is truth in person.
May God grant us the courage to reject every opposition to the truths of our faith and the grace to be guided by the rays of these truths; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE