YEAR C: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 29TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
THEME: NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER; VICTORY IS FROM GOD ALONE!
BY: Fr. Christian Eze
HOMILY: First reading – Ex. 17:8-13
Second reading – 2 Tim 3:14-4:2
Gospel – Lk 18:1-8
Apart from the virtue of ZEAL FOR SOULS as a priest of the Congregation of Mission (Vincentian) I know among the things that thrilled me to join the Army was the slogan: “No retreats, no surrender” and VICTORY IS FROM GOD ALONE”. Thus despite all challenges, I kept strong. The first reading of today became a thing of great interest for me. It narrates the story of a spectacular war between the Israelite and the Amalekites. In this war, Moses urged Joshua never to surrender– “… march out to engage Amalek” (Ex. 17:9). Thus, not without difficulties, they engaged and never gave up. At last, with Moses’ hands sustained up to God, their victory came.
Many people would give up after a little attempt to achieve a noble venture. Some would begin to count how many times they have written JAMB and never got the admission. Some would recount how many places they applied for a job and would not be called even for the interview at all.
The first point is to affirm the fact that failure is not sweet at all. It hurts. As human beings with feelings, we are bound to know the difference between joyful and painful emotions. At any rate, we are responsible for our reactions after the painful feelings. Some would rightly get up again and move on courageously, while some would refuse to get up after an episode of failure. What I learnt was that “failure is not fatal. Success is not final. It is courage that counts” I vowed never to give up. I am so glad too, with the story of the widow which Jesus told in today’s gospel. The widow had the courage to keep “hitting hard”. Sure, the Judge represents God, while the widow could be any of us. The action of the widow tells us something about praying without giving up. However, let us be warned that God, unlike the Judge in the story, would never see our prayers as a “disturbance”. He is God and not man.
Again, I realized why many people give up after a short while. Sometimes we give God a dictation of how and when to do something for us. We confine Him within a space and time. Some would begin to point to Him their mates with whom they graduated from school. But they would not remember some of their mates also who are having their nice time in those lonely graves (even though, I personally believe that the dead who died in Christ might be more fortunate than many who are alive).Some would count how many years they have worked without promotions; and they would not remember that someone has stayed that same number of years with both legs hanging in the orthopedic hospital. Our God is a timeless Being. He does not count the way we do. In his second letter, St Peter would want us to always bear in mind that: “to God, a day can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day” (2 Pt. 3:8).
My final resolutions therefore, became that we must neither turn to the left, nor seek solutions elsewhere. We must do all we can, without offending His Divine Will. The Will of God must be found not outside His will. When we observe this, we can rightly say that “the will of God is the result of our best efforts”. As Moses lifted His hands in prayer while Joshua put in his best at the war front, we too must lift our eyes up to God in same prayer, and do our best. Pray as if it all depends on God. Work as if it all depends on you.
At last, VICTORY IS FROM GOD ALONE!