YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY: God never created us to live beyond what is possible to our human existence. His commandments invite us to live daily the ordinary conditions of human existence in an extraordinary way by the power of the extraordinary graces He bestows on us through His Spirit. The ultimate end of these commandments is to lead us to Eternal Life by the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ in Whom is found the personification/hypostasization of all perfections. May our daily lives and activities be a constant positive response to God; Amen.
There is always this tendency to see the commandments of God to be very abstract and untenable. God is not a sadist as to create and request us to keep laws and demands or to aspire towards a certain level of perfection that are not accessible to us. In fact, the impression and conviction of the impossibility of keeping the commandments of God is the first and foundational tactic of the devil in seducing us away from God. Whenever we give in to this trap of the Evil One, we stop making the necessary effort we need to grow humanly, spiritually, morally, psychologically and otherwise and we stop making progress in our relationship with God. On the contrary, the commandments of God reflect the attitudes we should have in ordinary things of life, in our relationship with God and in our relationship with one another and in the different states of life, both social and religious, to which God has called us. Certainly, “in this way, led by God’s grace, we shape by many small gestures the holiness God has willed for us, not as men and women sufficient unto ourselves but rather as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (Gaudete et Exsultate, n. 18). This was exactly what Moses reminded us in his discourse with the people of Israel in the First Reading of today (Deut 30:10-14) “this law that I enjoin on you today is not beyond your strength or beyond your reach … No, the word us very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance.”
The commandments of God call us to be positive with, responsive to and responsible with ordinary things of life and existence; things that we sometimes neglect and overlook. Many of the saints, especially as seen in St. Therese of Lisieux, said and wrote repeatedly that the very basis of sanctity lies in doing ordinary things extraordinarily. Sometimes we are carried away by the seeming huge and big things we want to do for God and for our brothers and sisters that we forget the much more meaningful minute things that count the most; the simple but most rich acts of love; a simple smile, the use of gracious words that uplift, recognising the needs of others, a simple visit to the sick, offering a helping hand, etc. This is the very thing that distinguished the good Samaritan in the Gospel Reading of today (Luke 10:25-37) as against the priest and the Levite who had the same opportunity that He had. It is often said that opportunity makes the thief. This saying could be very true in some circumstances. But much more true is the fact that “opportunity makes the saint.” We have many opportunities everyday to be saints, to be good and better and best, to respond positively to God always in the ordinary things of life.
Every one of us receives as much opportunities as are necessary to gain Eternal Life. The difference is in how best we utilize these opportunities. In the final words of Jesus to the Lawyer that came to him, “go and do the same yourself”, our Lord sends us out, empowered by His grace, to recognise the simple and ordinary things around us and recognise what God wants us to do with them. All we need to reach our ultimate goal and destination is always right before us. In Christ Jesus, we see the perfect model of how to make use of these opportunities for “God wanted all perfection to be found in Him and all things to be reconciled through Him and for Him” (Col 1:15-20). All we need to do is to imitate Christ in being obedient to God and by so doing, grow to be similar to Him. Those who are similar to Christ are known to be blessed, fortunate, soft-spoken, innocent, upright, generous of heart, pure in heart and virtuous. These are those who see in the commandments of God our very means of sanctification and who keep these commandments.
Lord, free our hearts from every deceptive consideration that wants us to see your commandments as burdens and give us the grace to recognise and respond positively to the many opportunities you give us in the ordinary things of life to make progress in the journey of perfection; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE