YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 24TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: A LIFE OF SACRIFICE
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Mt. 8:27-35) Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Season of Creation
In today’s Gospel, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time and the Second Sunday of the Season of Creation, Jesus asked His apostles who do people say He was. Then, He directly asked His apostles. Peter proclaimed that He was the Christ. While people claimed Jesus was one of the prophets, Peter declared Him as the Christ, the Messiah, the One who is to come! When Jesus told them what will happen to Him, His suffering, rejection, passion and death, Peter rebuked Him. Then, Jesus told them that the one who will follow Him must be willing to lose his life too.
It was a difficult way of life. Yet Jesus knew that it was the only way to live meaningfully and fruitfully. Sacrifice is constitutive of Christian life. Not because God is a sadist or a masochist, but because suffering, at times is necessary, human as we are. Also, it is evil’s ultimate weapon. Evil believes that human beings are weak against suffering. Thus, humans succumb to temptations to avoid suffering. It is for this reason that Advent and Lent are assigned by the Church as days of sacrifice. Through sacrifice, our bodies are disciplined not to be enslaved by wants and even needs. So that when temptations come, we can endure.
Today, there is one sacrifice we should do. It is brought upon by our devastation and abuses of the environment. Greed had dominated us that we had brought our world to a point when it is warming critically. Climate change is a strong symptom of this environmental degradation. Our basic resources are being affected and declining. Water, for instance, is becoming polluted, inaccessible, expensive, and almost depleted. Rains do not come anymore where they use to. Rains pour too much in places without rain before. The rising of sea water due to ice melting is gradually invading our aquifers and fresh water supply. soon, fresh water will be scarce and very expensive. The dire consequences are unimaginable. And nobody is to be blamed but our greed and wanton use of nature. There is an urgent need for us to change. That change involves sacrifice.
It can start with developed countries using less fossil fuels and coal and start shifting to renewables like solar power, wind power, hydro power and biomass. It should be complimented by each country enforcing the laws on protecting fresh water sources like lakes, rivers, springs, etc. If these fresh water bodies will receive manageable pollutants, they can still heal themselves and remain fresh. But if factories, people, and institutions will dump everything there, soon, these bodies of water will die and become useless.
God made everything. His only begotten Son becoming human like us is a testimony to His regard to His Creation. Recognizing Jesus as our Saviour also involves respect to ourselves and everything God had entrusted to us. It will not be easy. We will be tempted at times to abuse and misuse them once greed consumes us. Hopefully not. That is why we need to discipline ourselves. Sacrifices will help us be formed to be insusceptible to them. Look at Jesus. He was triumphant even unto death.