YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 7TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Bear the Image of the Man of Heaven and the Lord will reward you.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
HOMILY: READINGS: 1 Sam. 26: 2,7-9,11-13, 22-23, Ps. 102, 1 Cor. 15: 45-49, Luke 6: 27-38
God’s ways are completely different from men and yet he asked us to take after him and be perfect like he is. The basis for this demand on us that is seemingly hard and difficult is first that he did not make us like things but put his own image and likeness in us. Second is that he knows we are weak and so gives us sufficient grace (Divine privilege, support and power) to lift us up. He said to us in Paul: My grace is enough for you and my power is made more manifest even your weakness. This is why he made carrying of the cross a condition of following him. Jesus himself did not find it easy even though according to Philippians chapter two, he was God. As long as he took human form he had to grabble with the pain and difficulties of doing God’s will and so he cried at a time: If it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Again he cried: Father, father, why have you forsaken me.
Nobody can speak as if it is light and easy as man to behave like God or do God’s will at ease. The truth remains that for tasking our weak flesh/body, he has divinized our low state and made us the men of heaven. This is why we are called today to bear the image of the man of heaven which is above the flesh and clay but spiritual and immaterial. It is important to know what it means to be earthly and what it means to be heavenly. The first reading dramatically through the behaviour of Saul and that of David made these obvious. Jesus then addressing his disciples practically commanded his followers how to be heavenly. These are to be considered and elucidated.
Beloved, Saul exemplified the image of the man who is earthly. He followed what Paul writing to the Corinthians in today’s second reading called the image of the first Adam. The first Adam is the image of the fallen humanity; it’s the image of the weak and sinful man who lives like those earth bound. It is from this first Adam that Saul took after. He exhibits hatred, wickedness and envy. He exhibits extinction and extinguishing the flame that God has put burning in others. He shows the image of man who wants only him to be known, recognized and praised. This is the man who wishes to perpetuate himself in office and sees enemy in any who attempts to raise his head in positive competition and challenge. In Saul we see the fallen humanity who makes a good man his enemy and bites the finger that fed him. This is the humanity that does not relish and recognise excellence but praise mediocrity and give bad name to the good dog in order to hang it. This is the society that does not want the good people to live rather tries to kill all our prophets and live the human society in total hopeless darkness.. This earthly people fight to kill charism and God’s choice never to raise head. It is a society of injustice and dead conscience. Saul’s like against David said it all.
Beloved, you as a Christian are called not to that life above mentioned because your life has been redeemed and ransomed. You are not belonging to the old and first Adam but to the new and second Adam Christ Jesus. This is an image of the heavenly as depicted in the first reading by David and as advised by Jesus in the gospel. As Christian living in the image of the heavenly from the second Adam you are supposed to be righteous person and just. You have to take the part of David to forgive offenders and never pay them back with wrongs. You should be a child of faith in God who believes in the providence of God and in his avenging power. You are to be united with God in faith and spirit such that his banner will always cover you from the plans of the enemy. You must believe that between you and the enemy, the battle is of the Lord’s. That God’s intervention is better than your own attack. You must respect the sanctity of life of the other person even of your enemy and believe that only the Lord has right to take life and to destroy. You must not utilize every opportunity since the devil can give you an evil opportunity to go against the Lord’s ways like David had to pay Saul back in his own coins. Never compete with your enemy on wickedness or revenge, show him that you are of a higher stuff and let him think you are afraid or weak; but the joy of the Lord is your strength. Let the imitation of Jesus in his virtuous life weaken the power of evil in you but become truly your strength. This is why Jesus tells us in today’s gospel to love our enemies and do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you as King Saul said to those insulting him. Pray for those who abuse you, offer no resistance to the wicked. Be generous to all who make request from you; lend without the intention of receiving back. These are acts that only those who have the image of the second Adam can do with the grace that he gives if not his grace no normal human being can do it.
I pray that as you put on the image of the heavenly, the Lord would make your enemies sleep instead of chasing you. Let the Lord pin down the enemy’s sword and uphold your right hand in glory; may God put your enemies into your hand and make them instruments in your own hands and may deep sleep from the Lord fall suddenly upon your enemies and may your good and lovely treatment of your enemy convert him to God, Amen. Rev.
Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf