YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 14TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Trust in God’s providence in this journey of life and in your mission.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
HOMILY: READINGS: Isaiah 66: 10-14, Ps. 66, Galatians 6: 14-18, Luke 10: 1-12, 17-20
We are in this world on a mission sent by God for some purpose. We are created primarily to know Him, love Him and worship Him so as to live with Him in heaven. This is what St Paul understood so well and so said that he will not glory in anything while on this earth except in the cross of Jesus Christ. This was what Jesus did not want the disciples to forget even in the glamour of this world and the joys of following him. This was why he said to the disciples who returned from a mission rejoicing at the submission of the devil under their authority that that should not be their source of joy but that it should be that what they have done has merited them entrance into heaven the dwelling place of God. All that we do on earth as children of God should be towards gaining heaven as our final goal and real desire.
Beloved in Christ, as we are on mission into this world, no one can achieve it by himself except with the power of God, his support and grace. His support and grace is a blessing to us and give us joy to rejoice even while still on this earthly journey. The gospel made us know that it is Jesus who sent us on the mission of this world and he gives instruction on how we must go for that mission if it has to be successful. He gives us the condition of doing it. In the gospel of today Luke recorded Seventy two disciples as being sent by Jesus but some manuscripts said seventy disciples. Those who used seventy disciples are trying to make relevant the significant number seventy as we have in the Jewish tradition. This was the same number that Jethro advised Moses his son-in-law to choose as helpers to judge Israel. Moses appointed seventy elders in the Old Testament and this is the number of the Sanhedrin who were legal experts in the Old Testament and who confronted Jesus in their legal matters and understanding. In our discourse today it matters to say that Jesus sent out disciples of about seventy two to a mission into the World. As the Father has sent him, so he has sent them to help in the work of saving souls and making the word of God reach the ends of the earth. This was to make the work of the twelve Apostles a little easier so that more places can be covered and the word of God would easily reach the ends of the earth which is the priority of Jesus’ mission on earth. We also are messenger and envoys to this world with specific mission and instructions by the one who called us. We must hearken to his instruction for success.
Beloved, it is important to know that when we hearken to the instructions of God and follow his commandments, it attracts blessing for us and all who support us would benefit from it. This is why St Paul in the second reading said that peace and mercy comes to those who walk by the rule God has given. This must have been why in the first reading God pronounced blessings upon Israel. And so, all who mourned over her while she carried the cross of keeping to the commandment of God and all who supported her while she was in pain of doing the will of God now they shall drink deeply with delight from the abundance of her glory. The Lord promised to extend prosperity to her like a river and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream. As one whom his mother comforts, God shall comfort her and her heart shall rejoice as the seventy two rejoiced because the glory of the Lord whom they obeyed was upon them.
Beloved in this earthly mission that God has sent us, we must accept the instructions of the Lord relying only on his providence. The adage says that he who sent the child to catch a shrewd must give him soap and water to wash his hand and the god who sent a child to go and dig out yam in the dry season must surely give him the enabling implement. God who is behind our mission does not want us to rely on ourselves, our strength and ability because they shall fail us and are never sufficient but we should rely on his divine providence to achieve success. For us it may seem as if we are having nothing with us since humans rely on personal security and material support of their own but God knows our needs and shall surly provide whatever is necessary for us in this life. He made us know his readiness and ability to do this when he said: Look at the birds of the earth they do not have barns nor sow but their heavenly Father provides for them. Solomon in all his wealth cannot be clothed beautifully than the flowers in the bush but their heaven Father clothes them. He asks us not to worry about what we are to eat or to drink or about tomorrow for his providence has taken care of them. This is why he told the seventy two not to go with extra things no spear tunic or purse but allow him who hired them to give them their desired wages. We are only to go with peace and be available for the work of God. We are only to be ready to work and cooperate with the people we meet and accept them the way they are, through them he will provide for us our needs. God will bless us through the work of our hands and the people we work for and with.
Beloved, let us as Christians bear on our body and soul the mark of Jesus Christ so that we shall remain saved and provided for by his providence. Let us make ourselves the agents of peace so as to have peace given to us, let us keep to the rules of this mission so as to be blessed and let us work as he has said and utilize the grace he has given so as to have our names written in the book of life and have the devil and his forces surrender to our authority. He has bestowed on us the authority to tread over serpents and scorpions and over all powers of the enemy and we pray that nothing ever hurt us in this journey of life, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf