YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Be anxious and worry about nothing
BY: Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
HOMILY: Today’s first reading is taken from the book of Genesis, 18:1-10a, in which Abraham entertains three strangers and is promised a son. Shortly his name changed from Abram becoming Abraham, the father of all nations.
God promises Abraham that within the year his aged wife, Sarah, will have a son. Abraham’s reaction was to laugh. Sarah also laughed at the news (Gen 18:12). The child born was named Isaac, which means “laughter”. They laughed because humanly no woman can give birth at advanced age.
The second reading is from the letter of Paul to the Colossians, 1:24-28, in which Paul tells us his role in proclaiming the gospel. Even though it encountered lots of sufferings, Paul rejoiced. We rejoice because we are going to be with the Lord. We have a hope for the future, a hope beyond death.
The Greek word for suffering, basically, is translated as “tribulation, something that causes distress.” It can range from minor annoyances that we go through every day, to major disasters that come sweeping down out of the blue and leave us stricken and smitten. These are the sufferings that we might go through, the tribulations.
The Gospel is from St. Luke, 10:38-42, in which Jesus is a guest at the home of unmarried women – unmarried men didn’t do that in Jews culture and tradition. He allows a woman to serve him, just as Abraham served the guests in today’s first reading. In Jesus’ day, only men were disciples.
Martha was very busy about all the tasks of hospitality. Jesus gently reminds her that her anxiety, her upsetment, has distracted her from what’s really important in hospitality – listening to her guest.
The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her (Luke 10:41-42).”
Worrying can affect your daily life so much that it may interfere with your appetite, lifestyle habits, relationship, sleep, and job performance. Many people who worry excessively are so anxiety-ridden that they seek relief in harmful lifestyle habits such as overeating, cigarette smoking, or using alcohol and drugs.
Excessive worry or ongoing fear or anxiety is harmful when it becomes so irrational that you can’t focus on reality or think clearly. People with high anxiety have difficulty shaking their worries. When that happens, they may experience actual physical symptoms.
Worry and anxiety can cause stress. Stress comes from the demands and pressures we experience each day. Long lines at the grocery store, rush hour traffic, a phone ringing nonstop, or a chronic illness are all examples of things that can cause stress on a daily basis. When worries and anxiety become excessive, chances are you’ll trigger the stress response.
Worry can make you physically ill. It can trigger a host of health problems. The problem occurs when fight or flight is triggered daily by excessive worrying and anxiety. The fight or flight response causes the body’s sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones such as cortisol.
These hormones can boost blood sugar levels and tringlycarides (blood fats) that can be used by the body for fuel. The hormones also cause physical reactions such as difficulty swallowing, dizziness, dry mouth, fast heartbeat, fatigue, headache and inability to concentrate.
When the excessive fuel in the blood isn’t used for physical activities, the chronic anxiety and outpouring of stress hormones can have serious physical consequences, including suppression of the immune system, digestive disorders, muscle tension, short-term memory loss, and premature coronary artery disease leading to heart attack or even suicidal thoughts.
Worry tends to be more focused on thoughts in our heads, while anxiety is more visceral in that we feel it throughout our bodies.