5TH SUNDAY HOMILY, ORDINARY TIME / YEAR B
THEME: Handling Crisis the Christian Way
BY: Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe
Have you heard the story of Horatio Spafford? He was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago. He had a wife, Anna and five children. In 1871, he lost his only son to pneumonia. As he was trying to get over the shock, he lost a great part of his business to a fire outbreak. Two years later, he lost his four daughters in a shipwreck while they were trying to cross the Atlantic from the U.S to Europe. His wife Anna was in the ship but was rescued. When Horatio was informed of the great loss, he traveled to meet his wife and while on the way, he composed the popular song; “when peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul…”
ALSO RECOMMENDED: HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR B
At one time or the other, we may have been in the shoes of Horatio but were not courageous enough to handle the situation with peace. We may have passed through difficulties like vocation crises, marital conflicts, collapse in business, complicated health issues, or even the death of a loved one. At such moments what did you do? Some may have lost every hope, cursed God, regretted the day they were born, etc. But the readings of today have a special message for us.
In the first reading (Job 7:1-4, 6-7), we see that even the righteous man Job experienced such crisis in his life. He lost all he had laboured to achieve, mysteriously. He was certain that he didn’t offend God but wondered why he was in such a horrible condition. He lost the hope of rising again and caused everything about him. But he eventually realized that it was only God who created him could rescue him and he resigned to the will of God.
In the Gospel reading (Mark 1:29-39), Peter had his own worries. He was worried by his mother-in-law’s ill-health. Perhaps everybody looked unto him to intervene but he had no cash on him because he had abandoned his job, fishing, to follow his master. He didn’t allow the matter to weigh him down. He quickly remembered that he had a master who could handle every type of situation and he invited Jesus over. At the end, as the story tells us, his mother-in-law was healed.
Today, we are invited to reflect on our immediate response in the face of crisis. When the world gives you more than you can handle, what do you do? Do you curse God for allowing you pass through such difficulties or do you invite him for help? The experiences of Job and Peter assure us that no one is above tribulations, not even the righteous among us or those who claim to have an intimate relationship with God. Trials and tribulations are for all men and sometimes, God remains silent to watch our reaction. Therefore, do not be disappointed with God when after the many efforts you are making to be holy, you encounter difficulties in your business, education, career or relationship.
It does appear that sometimes, we tend to exclude certain problems from the list of problems Jesus can handle. Why not come to him with that problem troubling your heart, that thing you think nobody can do for you or even what you think Jesus won’t do for you because of your sins. Perhaps he might use it to draw you closer to himself. The Gospel records that “he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another, he also cast out many devils”. He can also cast out that demon threatening your peace. Could it be that your employment is under the threat of termination because of your refusal to give in to one evil or the other, and you have nobody to complain to? Jesus is always willing to assist you, just invite him in prayers and you will feel his presence. That is one way of handling crisis; instead of being depressed, or losing hope in God, take it to God in prayer.
Beloved friends, another way of handling crisis is by paying rapt attention to the Word of God wherever it is preached. At such moments, God whispers to our hearts and his voice is able to calm the raging tempest in us and direct us in the right path. In the Second reading (1 Cor. 9:16-19, 22-23), St. Paul talks of his passion to preach this gospel and of his identification with all who suffer. This therefore becomes a challenge to ministers of the gospel to identify with and minister hope to those in various forms of crisis situations rather than capitalize on their vulnerability to exploit them. Happy Sunday. God loves you.
FOR SIMILAR HOMILY, CLICK HERE >>>