YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 7TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: NEWNESS OF LIFE
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
The Gospel Message is a guide to newness of life; transcending that which corrupt nature desires and being elevated to the realm of being true sons and daughters of God, the realm in which things that naturally seem impossible are supernaturally made feasible. Such is the Christian love that neither discriminates nor seeks revenge, the love that God reveals to us on the face of our Lord Jesus Christ and empowers us to live it out by the power of the Holy Spirit. May we be bearers and dispensers of the love of Christ; Amen.
The core of the Christian message is love, but never love as the world wants us to understand it; the type of love that only loves those who love us and hate or be indifferent to those who do not love us. The Christian love is godly and Christ-like in the sense that it loves all even those we might classify as our enemies. This is the exclusive and unique identity of the version of love Christ teaches. Love loses every bit of its taste when it discriminates. The perfection of love is the ability to love all just like God loves us all and allows the sun and the rain to shine on and fall on all without discrimination. This exactly is Jesus’ invitation in the Gospel Reading (Luke 6:27-38) of today, “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly… If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them.” Emphasising the uniqueness of the Christian love which never discriminates even those we might consider our enemies, Jesus teaches us today two important and intrinsic aspects of the love which are the fact that love is neither discriminative nor revengeful. He didn’t instruct us to live and practice what Himself never practiced. While on earth, Jesus Christ was the friend of those who were discriminated upon or considered as outcasts and sinners (Lu 15:2) and while still hanging on the cross, with the excruciating pain of the crucifixion, Jesus prayed for those who persecuted Him “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34).
It is this aspect of the Christian love that makes it very compassionate. We can boldly say that God loves us, together with many other things, but particularly because He is ever compassionate towards us, He is ever merciful towards us, “the Lord is compassion and love.” Our ability to be compassionate is the sign of our obedience to God’s command to love. Sometimes, it may seem impossible to be compassionate towards our enemies. Some other times, it may seem foolish and unthinkable to love those who obviously are not for us and who may likely wish us bad or cause us harm. To overcome this natural inclination remains the fruit of our encounter with God in the person of Christ. The encounter between David and Saul at the heat of Saul’s move to terminate the life and mission of David in the First Reading (I Samuel 26:2,7-9,11-13,22-23) teaches us that it is indeed possible to be saturated by the word of God as to make love the centre of our actions. With the opportunity he must have naturally and humanly desired at his doorpost, he realised that to be revengeful were never the path to success and victory. Rather, that compassion, which comes only from a heart filled with love and lets us to transcend our natural inclinations, surely leads to victory. Discrimination and revenge always lead to destruction, disintegration and hate whereas love always builds up. Love leads us to operate on a different level and pedestal! Only such a power which has its origin in God can let us repeat in our different specific situations like David; “do not kill him, for who can lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be without guilt? The Lord forbid that I should raise my hand against the Lord’s anointed!” Love may seem to be abstract for some people, but the manifestation of love in concrete human situations is what distinguishes us as children of God. This love is at work when we do the slightest of things with compassion, when we embrace all as our brothers and sisters and when we seek peace instead of revenge. Only this type of disposition leads us to transcend the earthly man in us by virtue of our connection to Adam to another stage and style of life in the heavenly Man Jesus Christ in whom we are sons and daughters of God (I Cor 15:45-49).
Lord our God, You are the fullness of love, fill our hearts with the bubbles of Your love that by being compassionate and loving, and never discriminating nor revengeful, we may change the face of the earth; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE
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