YEAR B: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 27TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: THE COURAGE OF ST. PAUL.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
_“But when Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And with him, the rest of the Jews acted insincerely so that even Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?’” *Galatians 2:11-14*
Yesterday, we read how Paul confessed to his arrest by God and how he turned around to become an Apostle of the Christian Faith. Today, we see that there was something God saw in Paul which would turn out to become such a useful resource for the spread of the Gospel; his courage to stand up for the truth regardless of who is involved.
Paul was such a fearless and straightforward person. He was not afraid to challenge the Pope as well as Cardinal Barnabas about their insincerity regarding their treatment of the Gentiles. Paul had to oppose the Pope to his face in public because he ate with the Gentiles only to distance himself from them later for fear of the circumcision party. According to Paul, this two-faced behaviour of Peter was not helping the spread of the Gospel at all.
Even to this day, the greatest obstacle to the promotion of the Christian Faith is that gap we often see between what we preach and what we do. Sometimes, God raises men like St. Paul to really challenge us with the truth no matter how painful so that by walking the talk, the church becomes better for it. We must be real. Pretence (or rather, unholy diplomacy if you like) is a virus that we all need to delete out of our lives.
Even as laypersons, we must be bold enough to speak the truth to our ministers. This is a very difficult task and not everyone is cut out for this “ministry” but just imagine what would have been the fate of Christianity if Paul kept quiet at the time. Who knows if the Gospel would have ever crossed the Mediterranean?
On the other hand, we also need the grace of Peter’s personality to listen and take correction. Pope Peter was wonderfully gifted in this regard. Soon after he denied Jesus Christ three times and heard the cock crow as Jesus predicted, Peter immediately came down on his knees, weeping and asking for forgiveness. It is one thing to be corrected and a different thing to be arrogant afterwards. Peter was not the arrogant type and we are beneficiaries of this great virtue of Peter today.
In our Gospel passage today, we are told that one of Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. We are not told who this disciple is but one thing that is clear is that arrogant people are not the type who will ask to be taught anything. The principal characteristic of an arrogant person is the feeling that they know it all. Thank God for this disciple, the world has a prayer taught by Jesus Christ himself.
We pray the Lord’s Prayer every day but we barely take out time to reflect on it. Every single word and phrase of the Lord’s Prayer is enough for a whole day’s meditation. Today, however, we are called to reflect on the humility of that unnamed disciple who asked Jesus to teach them this prayer.
Can we be humble enough to admit our ignorance and ask to be taught? Or would we rather assume we know it all and cannot be corrected?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me the courage to be real and say the truth at all times. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Galatians 2:1-2.7-14, Psalm 117:1-2 and Luke 11:1-4).