32nd Sunday Homily for Ordinary Time Year B
Theme: GIVE WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART
By: Rev Fr Utazi Prince Marie Benignus
Homily for Sunday November 7 2021
1 Kings 17: 10-16; Psalm 146: 7, 8-9, 9-10; Hebrews 9: 24-28; Mark 12: 38-44
I pray for you: May you continue to trust in God and live a life of loving service to all whom the Lord Jesus places in your path. AMEN
In the first reading and the gospel of today, God asks that all we have must be shared with those in need. The second reading says that the only sacrificethsat pleases God is a heart ready to love a heart that shares its very life. Jesus is the heart that is ready to share its very life.
God wants us to focus on people we meet who are in dire need of our assistance (economic, business, spiritual). Our words of consolation to them will go a long way to heal them. Our material and financial assistance will do well to their human person, as little as we can give out. When I say that we need to be willing to focus on them and not on ourselves, it means being interested in them and willing to be involved in their lives in whatever positive and enriching way we can. God may want us to give up our own desires for a time and spend time with another. The life of a follower of the Lord Jesus should be one of giving all one has and trusting in Jesus.
The First Reading describes how a non-Jewish widow was willing to share what little she had with the prophet Elijah, trusting God’s Word spoken through the prophet, and as result of her trust, she was given sustenance for a year. During a time of drought and famine, the prophet Elijah travels to a town, a small Phoenician village near Sidon and Tyre. There he encounters a non-Jewish widow who is out gathering enough small twigs to cook a final bite of food for herself and her son. Elijah asks her for some water and some food. She explained that she has barely enough to make a last meal for her family (herself and her son). The prophet reassures her that if she takes care of him, that she will have enough oil and flour to last through the drought and famine. Trusting the words of the prophet of God, she provides for the prophet and the three of them survive a year until the rain once again waters the land, thus ending the drought and famine.
The Responsorial Psalm proclaims Gods care for the needy. The Lord will provide what is necessary for those who call upon His name. God truly is compassionate toward the Anawim those who are bowed down by the burdens of life and who bow down in humble trust of God.
The Second Reading continues to compare and contrast the high priesthood of old to the new and eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ. Jesus does not go into the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem Temple, but rather into the true presence of God in heaven, which the Jerusalem Holy of Holies was only a foreshadowing. Jesus sacrifice was a once-for-all, and not a yearly, sacrifice performed by the Jewish high priest for the people. Jesus sacrifice was not just a symbol of Gods forgiveness of sins, but the actual act of redemption and reconciliation.
The Gospel contrasts the actions of the self-righteous and the action of the truly humble person who trusts complete in Gods providence. Jesus first condemns the pompous actions of some of the religious leaders. They make their importance known by the actions and attitude. Jesus cautions His disciples to avoid such pretenses. He then turns the attention to a widow who comes into the Temple and faithfully offers a couple copper coins. Jesus comments that she has given more than anyone because she, like the widow in the First Reading, was willing to give all she had, trusting in the protection and providence of God.
Dear Sisters and Brothers, todays readings cghallenge me to ask myself, do I trust as much as the two widows in the readings today? Yes, I believe in Gods providence, yet I also seem to have a need to hold onto things just in case. I also ask myself, Do I give enough to the ministry of the church? The main point is the trust we place in the Lord Jesus and His Father. The two widows (one a supposed non-believer and the other a believer) were willing to trust that God would provide for them. Trusting in Gods providence means moving forward, not spending time worrying about what comes next. Trust does not lessen our need to think and act fully, but it lessens our concerns about what lies ahead. If we trust God, we can act confidently, yet not self-righteousl
The more we are able to look beyond ourselves to Gods action, especially in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the more we will allow Gods action to continue in our lives and the lives of the needy around us. We need to focus on the one and only priesthood of Jesus Christ and realize that we are invited to share in that priesthood by our reaching out to the Anawim those bowed down and bent over. We are called to be Anawim ourselves by bowing down and bending over to assist others and not to lord it over them like the self-righteous religious leaders in Jesus time. As I continue my journey in this life, I feel the call to be more concerned for others. It can be manifested in the simple way I interact with people on a daily basis. I need to show my true interest in each person even in the way I greet them, and demonstrate that I am being more than polite because I really am interested in how they are doing.
*MEDITATION* With which character in todays readings do I most identify? The widow in Zarephath? The prophet Elijah? The religious leaders in the Gospel? The widow in the Temple? The disciples of Jesus? What is God challenging me to do today as a result of the readings? How much do I trust in the providence of God?
*PRAYER* Lord God, we thank You and praise You for the way that You call us to continue Your ministry of securing justice for the oppressed, giving food to the hungry, setting captives free, healing the sick, raising up those bowed down, supporting those who have lost loved ones. May we follow the lead of our Master-Teacher,
*O DIVINE WORD, WHO TOOK FLESH FOR HUMAN SAKE, REDEEM US IN OUR SITUATION*
© Rev Fr Utazi Prince Marie Benignus
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