YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord” (Is 55:8).
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
The truth of God’s omnipotence and the fact that God is bigger than every human assumption and measure and proposal must always be present in our minds. That is the only way to truly understand God and accept His will. May we never be blinded by the elusive perfection of our limitedness that we aim to limit God also within their confines; Amen.
The First Reading (Num 11:25-29) recounts for us an important point in the mission of Moses when the weight of his responsibility became very burdensome on him that God decided to give him helping hands. The unexpected happened, to the greatest surprise of Joshua, as two men, Eldad and Medad, out of the seventy men chosen by Moses received the Spirit of God and prophesied like others while in the camp, whereas others were in the Tent of meeting. In the Gospel Reading (Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48), the apostle John made a similar experience and like Joshua was amazed and confused; “Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.” The experiences of Joshua and John bring to mind the age long expression about God in the Psalms, “Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He wills” (Ps 115:3). God is absolutely free and He has His own logic of operation. We as His creatures received our freedom from God! The problem is that sometimes we want to completely decide for God and to place Him under the terms of our conditions.
The central message of today is that God can never be caged within the confines of human conditions and terms. Irrespective of our presuppositions, we must always leave the greatest space for God. We must always realize that our plans are myopic and based on the limited nature of our understanding. It is God alone whose knowledge is comprehensive and He knows how to place everything in place according to His plan and purposes. God is never conditioned to how we think or how we wish things to be! This has always affected our understanding of God and has created conflicts between us and the logic of Divine Operation. We truly understand God when we realize that God cannot be completely understood; there is always something mysterious about God and in this mystery lays the absoluteness of God. The hard truth is that sometimes, in the sincere effort to protect the faith and our values, we can become obstacles to the movement of the Holy Spirit and the workings of God. In as much as the protection of our faith and values is a working principle and a rule, we must realize that God cannot be bottled within the limitations of understanding and standards.
The logic of Divine Operation is always beyond human comprehension. This calls for humility on all of us to realize in concrete terms that God knows beyond us, individually and collectively, and He sees infinitely farther than we can ever imagine. In every human rule and working principle, there must be the greatest space for God’s exercise of His absolute freedom. One who does not understand this style of Divine Operation will surely misuse his or her God-given opportunities and also use them as means of inflicting pain and suffering on others and as weapons of exploitation and subjugation. Such a person does not understand that the gifts of God were never given to him or her to be above others, but rather to be at the service of others. This is what Saint James reminds us in the Second Reading (James 5:1-6) that in cheating others and maltreating the less privileged, “it was a burning fire that we stored up as our treasure for the last days.”
Lord, help us always to realize our limitations and to recognize Your infinitude and in humility to realize that it is You Who is truly in-charge and never ourselves; Amen. Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE