YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 24TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: QUEST FOR THE KNOWLEDGE OF MESSIAH
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Being a Christian is not just a confession that leaves us without commitments and challenges. Being a Christian, a follower of Christ, is a lifetime journey that is guided by values based on the person, message and mission of Christ. These values inspire every Christian to live beyond the ordinary and to focus completely on the Person who “loved us and gave himself up for us” (Eph 5:2). May our knowledge of and our personal and communal relationships with the God-man stimulate us always to a concrete implementation of the faith and values we profess; Amen.
The desire and search to understand who Jesus is never started with us! It has being an endeavour that stretches back even before the time of the prophets and quite certainly before the Annunciation to Mary. The Israelites has always reflected on the identity of the promised Messiah; where He would come from and what His proper mission would be; either socio-political or spiritual. This enquiry continued even after the death and resurrection of Christ, up to this day, sometimes leading some, unguided by the humility of mind and the illumination of the Spirit, to erroneous and dangerous understanding and misinterpretation of the person and of the message and mission of Christ. This enquiry was greatly effervescent during His lifetime as well, as we read today in the Gospel Reading (Mk 8:27-35) that led Jesus to ask His disciples the all times valid question; “who do people say I am?” The people who crowded round Him knew Him not. His closest companions were not much better than the people and even Peter never understood the true meaning of what He said and he got the greatest rebuke of his life “get behind me, Satan.” It is God who reveals Himself to us and right from the prophets He has revealed that “the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again.” This is the content of the prophetic voice we heard in the First Reading (Is 50:5-9) “I offered my back to those who struck me.” The followers and disciples of Jesus Christ chose to overlook and took to themselves images that suit their immediate need and condition of life. God is always bigger than the here and now! We must always be humble never to confound our self imaginations and creations for the movement of the Holy Spirit who reveals and who leads us to understand.
Our knowledge of Christ must always rebound to what He reveals to us about Himself. Irrespective of how beautiful our personal imagery and conceptions of Christ may be, if they fall short of this humble recourse, they lead us to error and superstition and to a fruitless imagination of an empty iron-pyrite box which superficially looks golden but indeed is truly ‘a fool’s gold.’ As a matter of fact, every Christian is bound to a sincere, humble and guided search into the person of Christ. It is search that changes our perspective of life and determines our choices. It is this search that creates the space within us for a personal relationship with God. It is this search that propels us to put into practice on a daily basis the fruits of this personal relationship with Christ and our faith commitment. A supposed Christ-experience that does not bring to effect a corresponding concrete expression of this experience of faith is self-deceit. In the clearest declaration of Saint James in the Second Reading (James 2:14-18) “if good works do not go with Faith, it is quite dead.” We must always recognize that Jesus Christ inspires a different type of values than we would ordinarily incline ourselves. To understand these values we must first and foremost truly understand who He is. Our true knowledge of Him brings us to believe and trust in Him and to accept willingly all He has commanded us to do and ultimately leads us to a sincere and absolute commitment to what He stands for; this is discipleship.
Lord Jesus Christ, King of eternal glory, may we, Your sons and daughters and together as the Church of God and the Family of God’s children, continue to deepen our knowledge of You and be inspired to fill the world with the sweetest scent of your presence by our actions and choices; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE