YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Make God Happy By Bringing Back the Lost.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
_“There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety- nine righteous persons who need no repentance. * Luke 15:7*_
There is a story told of a man whose wife was heavily pregnant and about to give birth. The man had a bicycle so he placed her on the bicycle and rode her while he walked. Someone saw it and laughed at him for being a “woman wrapper.” In reaction, he decided to share the seat with his wife, it became a bumpy ride, he was barely managing to avoid a fall. Someone saw it and laughed at him saying: “Do you want to break the bicycle? One of you must come down.”
Again in reaction, he told his wife to walk while he rode the bicycle alone. Someone saw him and rained insults on him for being such a cruel husband, allowing his wife to walk while he rode alone. This time, he stopped riding and decided to carry the bicycle on his head. Someone again saw him and laughed until tears started rolling from his eyes; “How can you allow the bicycle to waste when your wife needs a ride?”
In reaction again, he left the bicycle by the wayside and decided to walk with his wife. Someone saw him again and said: “how do you intend to reach the hospital by walking, your wife might faint before you get there, can’t you think? Where is your bicycle?”
The moral of the story is this: “in this life, you can never please human beings.” No matter what you do or how good you are, people must criticize you.
When Jesus was seen associating with tax collectors and persons considered to be sinners, the Pharisees started murmuring among themselves just as they did when a woman with a bad reputation came to anoint Jesus’ feet during a dinner; “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” (Luke 7:39)
Dear friends, no matter what your intentions are, people must talk so better ensure that even if people criticize you badly, let it not be that God himself would criticize you. Strive to please God and allow people to use their mouths as they so wish. Don’t allow what people are saying or thinking about you prevent you from doing what is right in the sight of God.
Jesus could have just kept his critics quiet but he was kind enough to offer them an explanation of his action with the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the Prodigal Son. Jesus explains that no matter how good and holy we think we are as Christians, we do not bring God as much joy as that which He feels when a sinner repents and returns to him.
It is not enough to be a good person, it is not enough to be a genuine Christian. If you really want to make God happy, then reach out to the lost. Partake in the search for the lost coin, help bring back the lost sheep, help bring back the souls who have gone astray. If you succeed in bringing them back, God is ten times happier than He would be if you simply kept your holiness to yourself.
If your efforts to bring sinners to repentance brings you strong criticism, do not worry. Be like St. Paul who could say in our first reading: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” If you must lose your reputation and good name, so be it. If you must lose your money in trying to win souls, no problem. If you must lose your time, it’s okay but, make sure you do not lose your soul.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, use me as your instrument in bringing the lost back to your fold. Amen.
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Philippians 3:3-8, Psalm 105:2-7 and Luke 15:1-10).