YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 24TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: WHO AM I?
BY: Fr Uchendu Simeon
(Is 50:5-9; Jms 2:14-18; Mk 8: 27-35)
One of the things that touch people easily, as I have come to realize is to see someone who they have met maybe, only once, walk up to them and recognize them, with their full names. It is most touching if the person constantly meets a lot of people and is often busy, like big politicians. On the other hand, when people we know fail to recognize us, usually we feel disappointed.
I want to draw us to the experience of Jesus. Mark’s gospel has 16 chapters, and we just read from chapter 8. In other words, Jesus had played half-time, he had reached the middle of his mission. So he needed to take stock. He understands the human nature. He understands that sometimes, its easier for people to report what others had said, than to present one’s opinion, and so he began from there, “who do people say I am?” Then he moved on, “but you who do you say I am? Its like saying, “tell me to my face, who am I to you, and what do you tell people about me?”
As we continue on this discourse, I’ll like us to see the lessons clearly;
1. Jesus’s question demand an answer; “but to you, who am I?” There’s a difference between knowing someone and knowing about someone. Herod and the Pharisees heard about, and actually saw Jesus, but did not grasp who he really was. The 5000 men, women and children who he fed knew him as the multiplier of bread. But that was all. Going beyond knowing about him, and coming to know him demands an encounter. The disciples were with Jesus. They had heard the testimony of his baptism (Mk 1:9-11), they had heard him preach (Mk 1:14ff), they had seen him perform miracles and above all, they had been with him. And so from within-himself Peter spoke, mark his words, he didn’t say, “I think or it seem to me that…”, he said, “You are the Christ”. Yes, that question remains, “to you, who am I?” The secret is on “encounter”.
2. Stock-taking is absolutory necessary: The message of today challenges us to examine ourselves, “who we really are, and who we portray ourselves to be”. Do not forget; there’s the “you” in you who others see, but you don’t; there’s the “you” in you who both you and every other person sees; and there’s the “you” in you who only yourself sees and knows. To me, this last one is the most important for that is who you really are. And so today’s message is an opportunity to take stock, and decide like the prophet Isaiah in the first reading (Is 50:5-9a), to yield to God at all times.
3. Have your vision: Peter knew who Jesus is (the Christ- Messiah), but not how He (Christ) will fulfil that mandate of being the messiah, and so he was rebuked and called Satan. Do not allow your friends to determine who you are for you. Determine it and walk with your God towards your mission.
There are other advantages of having a clear vision of yourself;
(a)Understanding who you are helps to pursue your goals in life clearly.
(b)It helps you in making fundamental or difficult decisions, including but not limited to supporting polices that affects your faith.
(c)It convinces you of your relationship with, and position before God
(d)In difficult times, this discovery helps you to submit patiently to God and wait for the storm to pass by.
(e)Finally, your conviction of your journey with God, helps you to live out your Christian life even with the little you have and the little you can contribute, remembering that “faith without good works is dead” (James 2:26).
Do not forget, the question is, before God and men, “who are you?”