YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF LENT
THEME: FATHER GLORIFY YOUR NAME
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY: It is natural to seek glory because our Creator is eternally and infinitely glorious and He created us in His own image and likeness. In fact, to dwell in the glory of God is actually the end of the Christian Life, to win the crown of unfading glory (1 Peter 5:4) at the end of time which only the Triune God can bestow; partly here in this world and ultimately there in the celestial realms before the full-view of the company of the heavenly hosts. What is unique about the Christian path to glory is the fact that it is not the common path which we would ordinarily and humanly like to take. It is the path which Christ Himself had successfully and meritoriously walked and He invites us every day to walk that path with Him. Lord, may we follow the path of Christ as to share in His glory; Amen.
As we gradually approach the Holy Week and the end of the Lenten Season, the readings sequentially unveil to us the aim of our Lenten Journey; the celebration of the glorious resurrection of Christ. The glory of Christ was profoundly revealed in His victory over death and His defeat of the Devil on the Cross at Calvary. One striking thing about the victory of Christ in which His glory was ultimately revealed was the path through which He was glorified; the path of shame and betrayal and rejection and suffering and crucifixion and death. In summary, Christ’s path of glory is the path of the Cross! This was the central message of the Gospel Reading of today (John 12:20-33); “Father, glorify Your name… And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men and women to myself.” It sometimes seems ridiculous in the mind of many to associate victory and glory with the Cross. In Christ, this riddle was solved once and for all. Every year, the Church reminds us this truth through the observance of the penitential Lenten Season that launches us to the celebration of the glorious Easter Feasts. When we look at the life and mission of our Lord Jesus Christ, there is no better glory that anybody would wish for. In Christ is seen the greatest form of glory possible and the most formidable form of victory in the History of Salvation, for His victory over the Devil is once and for all. Through the merits of His victory, we can become victorious too. But also in Him is seen the most excruciating pain ever; the worst form of rejection and betrayal and the most outrageous form of death on the Cross. The mystery in all of these is that the Cross of Christ leads to glory. Just like for Christ, so it is for every Christian; from the cross to glory. It is impossible to be a Christian without the Cross; a cross-less Christian is a Christ-less Christian; and a Christ-less Christian is a totally glory-less Christian, and such a Christian can only be imagined.
The perennial value of the Victory gained for all men and women on the Cross of Calvary was codified for all in the eternal Covenant between God and His people established in the blood of the Lamb. Unlike the former covenants of the past that were frequently broken by our ancestors in the faith, this Covenant is unbreakable and remains valid forever, because it is sealed on the precious blood of the spotless Lamb shed for us on the Cross. This was the Covenant spoken of by the prophets as we read in the First Reading of today (Jeremiah 31:31-34), “this is the Covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive, it is the Lord who speaks. Deep within them I will plant my law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people.” The new and everlasting Covenant was established through the path of the Cross. To benefit from this Covenant, we must also be open to walk this path. Only through the path of the Cross is the splendour and glory of God in us made visible and resplendent. Only through the path of the Cross can we connect to the glory of Christ that is the utmost desire of every Christian for “having been made perfect, Christ became for all who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:7-9). One of the greatest weapons of the war of modernity against Christ and against the Christian faith is the subtle instigation of hatred for the Cross in the hearts of many men and women. This is achieved by countless promises of glory, breakthroughs, pleasures and happiness that is sine fundamentum in re (without foundation in reality). To hate the Cross is to hate Christ, to reject all He stands for and to disdain the glory He has gained for us through His victory through the Cross. To hate the Cross is to choose to pay deaf ears to the voice of the Father that spoke to us today “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The Father will surely glorify His name in us through the power of the Holy Spirit when we follow the example of Christ and walk the path of the Cross.
Lord our God, amidst the distractions that the world present to us in the name of triumph, may we never lose sight of the Cross of Christ through which we receive the greatest victory and glory that the world had ever known; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE