YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF LENT
HOMILY THEME: GOD WILL MAKE A WAY
BY: Very Rev. Fr. John Louis
HOMILY: READINGS: Isaiah 43:16-21 / Philippians 3:8-14/
Some centuries after God had made a way through the Red Sea for the Israelites, their descendants (because of their disobedience) found themselves in exile in Babylon. It was in that situation, according to today’s first reading, that the prophet assured them that the God of their ancestors will (again) make a way for them: “Thus says the Lord, who made a way through the sea, a path in the great waters …no need to recall the past, no need to think about what was done before. See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light …. Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness, paths in the wild” (Isa. 43:16-19). And indeed, it came to pass that the Jews in Babylon returned to their land, as God had promised.
Beloved, the Lord God, who made a way for the Israelites or Jews, is still in the “business” of making ways for those who believe in Him today: “no need to think about what was done before. See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light …. Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness”. Thus, about 600 years after the Jews had returned from Babylon, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, made a way for the woman caught in adultery (today’s gospel reading). The Law of Moses required that she be stoned to death, and so once she was arrested, she knew there was no way out, but Jesus made a way for her: “Has no one condemned you? … Neither do I condemn you, but go and sin no more” (John 8:10-11). Beloved, may Jesus make a way for us out of sin; amen! May He make a way for us out of the difficulties in our family, business, etc. amen!
Furthermore, the second reading tells us about Paul (Saul) who was looking for the way. What destination was Paul looking forward to? Heaven! And what path or way was he walking on? He had chosen the path of the Law of Moses. This was exactly the path which did not help the woman caught in adultery. Paul initially thought the path of the Law would lead him to heaven – to the extent that he persecuted Christians who were teaching about another way to heaven. But when Paul experienced Christ, and got to know that He is “the way, the truth and the life; and no one goes to the Father [in heaven] except through” Christ (John 14:6), he exclaimed: “All I want is to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and to share His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10).
To the converted Paul, then, the value of everything else would fade away: “I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Jesus my Lord. For Him I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in Him” (Phil. 3:8).
Beloved, like St. Paul, may we value our faith in Jesus Christ, the only Way to the Father in heaven, above all other things (money, business, even family and life). And may our way to heaven, where Christ has made us citizens (Phil 3:20), be secured forever in His name. Amen!
[You may sing Don Moen’s song (or adopt its words for a prayer): “God will make a way, where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see. He will make a way for me. He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side, with love and strength for each new day. He will make a way (2x)”.]
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis