YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 24TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: I shall not be confounded for keeping faith with God.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
READINGS: Isaiah 50: 5-9, Ps. 116, James 2: 14-18, Mark 8: 27-35
The true knowledge of God is very necessary in the life of humans. It is in his words that we know him and can truly behold him. It is in the sacred scriptures that he has made his will known to humanity. This is why St Jerome said that ignorance of the Scripture is ignorant of God. Christians gather always in the house of God, listen to radio, and attend vigils and crusades just to hear the word of God. The good question to be asked is: Do Christians and by extension humans truly know God? It is possible that we speak about God and sing God in music and answer names that express belief in God yet we do not know him, and do not have faith in him as well as not following him. These are the people that Jesus said: You call me Lord, Lord yet you do not do my will.
Beloved, the Prophet Isaiah makes it clear that to truly know God is to allow him open our ear to hear. The one who truly wishes to know him does not rebel against his will or turn back at the commands of God. In doing this, tribulations will come from opposing forces human and spiritual; if it is the will of God, we do not resist but allow the blows willed for us to fall on us. Here Isaiah brings the image of the suffering servant of Yahweh. He makes it clear that suffering for the sake of our belief is also a way to show that we truly know him. In the face of these sufferings of a true Christian for the sake of true justice and righteousness, God does not allow his faithful to be confounded. The Lord in all these afflictions will not allow shame to fall on his beloved; this is because the Lord who shows mercy to those who truly suffer for him would vindicate them. The adversaries of pious people would not succeed in declaring them guilty. This is all about faith in Christ Jesus.
Faith is not spoken words but actions of a follower of Christ. It does not end in oral profession as we do in Church always in the recitation of Nicene Creed. It is seen in its practical actions carried out by the Christian in accord with the proclaimed faith. This is why James in the second reading makes it clear that faith without good works is dead. If any Christian wants to prove his faith let him boast of the works produced in and by faith. This is more convincing and acceptable way of life in Christ.
Beloved in Christ, this is why Jesus feels that those who follow him speak about him in various ways but do not really know him. In the gospel of today, Jesus decided to set a test of his real identity to the followers. Jesus asks you today: Who do you think that I am in your understanding of him? The answers we give about God are as numerous as our number on earth. Jesus is described in various forms by many. People have written preached and acted much about him but are they really what he is? Does he make a personal difference in your life or do you have personal knowledge and encounter of him? Make sure you act and correspond to the will of God if not you would be kept behind by Jesus as Satan as he told Peter. It is necessary not to allow our personal ways propel our lives when it is devoid of God’s will, let us ask for his grace to take up daily the cross of keeping to his words and fulfilling his will. May we be willing like Isaiah and the person of Christ prefigured in Isaiah’s prophesy of the first reading to accept sufferings and crosses that are necessarily permitted and willed by God for us, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf