YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP
BY: Fr. Jb Mbbah-Offor
HOMILY: Wis 9: 13- 18b, Phil 9b- 10.12-17, Lk 14:25-33.
St Andrew was an Apostle of Jesus Christ. After preaching the Gospel and founding many Churches in Russia,Turkey and possibly Ephesus, St Andrew came to Greece and particularly to the City of Patras. He converted many people to the Christian faith. He converted Maximilla, the Proconsul’s Aegue’s wife. The Proconsul was furious and to seek revenge, he arrested St Andrew, commanded him to give up his faith by offering incense to the idols and thus save his body. But St Andrew pleaded with him to accept Christ and thus save his soul. St Andrew was scourged and condemned to die upon the cross. He hung upon the cross for three days suffering great agony. Before his death, he prayed thus: Accept me, O Christ Jesus whom I saw, whom I love ,and in whom I am; accept my spirit in peace in your eternal realm. He died on the cross in 69 A.D. St Andrew loved God more than his life, brothers ,sisters, parents.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus outlined the conditions of discipleship. He says: If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and his mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters and even his own life, cannot be my discipline. Jesus said this when He was on the road to Jerusalem. He knew that He was on His way to the cross. The crowds who were with Him thought that He was on His way to an empire. They followed Him because of so many things they heard about Him.
When Jesus tells us to hate our nearest and dearest ,He does not mean that literally. He means that no love in life can compare with the love we must bear to Him. We must love Him above all things.
It is possible to be a follower of Jesus without being a disciple. A student may attend lectures but may not be a student of the lecturer. A follower is someone who has a great interest in Something. Someone who supports, admires or believes in a particular person, group or idea whereas a disciple is a person who believes in the idea and principles of someone famous and tries to live the way they do or did. Jesus wants us to follow Him and be His disciples.
Allegiance to Christ must be Paramount in a disciple’s life, even above his near and dear ones – father or mother, son or daughter. The call of Jesus must be obeyed above other calls. St Jerome would say, “for this order is needed in every affection; after God, love thy father, thy mother and thy children, but if a necessity should occur that the love of parents and children comes into competition with the love of God, and where both cannot be preserved, remember that hatred of our kindred becomes love of God”.
In the Jewish chief commandment, we hear the following: Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might(Deut 6:4-5). This verse is part of Shema, the basic creed of Judaism. Every Jew began with this verse and every Jew must commit it to memory. This means that the love of God must be greater , above every other thing or person in heaven or on earth.
Jesus did not promise luxury and comfort to His disciples. He told them that they will encounter difficulties as they work in His vineyard. Being followers and disciples of Jesus we should expect difficulties and carry our crosses and follow Him.
So many Christians find it difficult to follow Jesus and learn from Him. They are always giving excuses in following Christ. They find it difficult to accept the things of heaven and make amends where they erred. Even some ministers of God no longer discharge their duties properly and diligently. Some parents find it difficult to teach their children the way of Christ, the way that leads to salvation. All sorts of immortality are now the other of the day. People don’t pray any more as they should. Let’s examine our lives, be willing to suffer for Christ sake and price Him above everything and everybody.
Fr. Jb Mbbah-Offor