FR. GERALD MUOKA HOMILY FOR THE 15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C (4)










FR. GERALD MUOKA HOMILY FOR THE 15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

THEME: SETTING OUR PRIORITIES RIGHT (Placing love above the law).

BY: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka

HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JULY 10 2022

 

R1 – Deut 30:10-14
R2 – Col 1:15-20
GOSPEL – Luke 10:25-37

A story was told about a man who was coming back from work one pretty dark evening. The path was very narrow. By mistake he slipped and fell in the pond filled with muck and it was extremely cold. However much he tried to come out he could not and worse still he went on sinking in the muck. A passer by stopped to render assistance. He threw a rope to the man and tied it to his horse and with difficulty he pulled him out. Then he took the nearly unconscious man to his home, washed him clean, and wrapped him in the blanket. The man recovered in a couple of days and wanted to return to his house. He thanked his benefactor for the favour done and asked what his name was. The benefactor refused. When the person still insisted, the good man asked him a question, asking if he knew the story of the Good Samaritan. The man responded positively. Then he said if he could tell him the name of the Good Samaritan and he would reveal his name. The man thought a while and said, “It is not recorded in the Bible.” “Nor will I tell you mine” said the helper, “Kindly go and be a Good Samaritan.”

Beloved in Christ, Jesus invites us in today’s Gospel reading to kindly go into the world and be a Good Samaritan; just as the helper instructed his beneficiary in the intriot story, “go and be a Good Samaritan.” Of course, some biblical scholars believe that omission of names in some biblical narratives is an invitation for us all to insert our own names at the supposed unnamed character, playing his or her role.

Today, we live in a world where people pay deaf ear to the plights of others; where people display indifferent attitude to situations that call for urgent assistance; where the heart of humanity is exchanged with heartlessness and brutality; where religiosity soars beyond and devoid of humanity; where accident and gory emergency scenes are turned into photo studios so as to be the first reporters on social media, instead of setting our priorities right by placing love above the law.

Hence, at the heart of the readings of this Sunday’s liturgy is a clarion call to all and sundry to strive after the attainment of eternal life by Prioritising God’s love above the law because love is the essence and reason for the law.

The first reading reminds us that God’s Commandments in Holy the Scriptures which anchor on love of God and neighbour, are also written in our hearts so that we may obey them and inherit eternal life with God.

St. Paul in the Second Reading chides us, that just as Christ Jesus is the “visible image of the invisible God,” so our neighbors are the visible image of Christ living in our midst.

The Gospel of today presents us a beautiful story of the Good Samaritan, the man who goes out of his way to help a person in need by prioritizing love above his lawful schedules and aborted his journey.

Nevertheless, Jesus shocked the Jews by placing greater relevance on the action of the Samaritan over that of the priest and levite. He made the supposed villain in the eyes of the Jews a hero, simply because he set hid priorities right and place love above the law since love remains the essence of the law. That is what St Paul says, “As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

The parable of the Good Samaritan presents us with different characters or set of people that represent different types of believers in Christianity and the world at large.

*FOUR SET OF PEOPLE IN CHRISTIANITY AND THE WORLD*

(1) *THE ROBBERS*
The plight of the Good Samaritan was orchestrated by the activities of bandits and hoodlums, described as robbers in the parable. A robber is a person who robs—steals, especially by force or through threats of violence. They can even take away someone’s life or source of livelihood.
They are like the sworn enemies of progress in the world, with the intention of maiming and destroying others. They inflict pains and put others in difficult situations. Theirs is to cart away with others future, dignity, valuables and denigrate them. They can be regarded as destiny destroyers.

In our world, many more robbers operate than we might realize:

The robbers are like some modern politicians, who rob the masses of their health system by not building good hospitals, steal their future by running an epileptic school system, deny them good and quality roads that constitute hazardous accidents and deaths. Since the robber who takes money that does not belong to him is a thief, employers and governments who deny workers of basic salary, pension, entitlements and gratuity are robbers. The boss who refuses to settle the apprentice after years of stewardship is a thief. The rapist who takes sexual pleasure from someone not his spouse is a thief. The adulterer who steals another’s spouse is a thief. God has given us things to use, and God has given us people to love. But when we begin to love things and use people, we become thieves.

(2) & (3) *THE PRIEST AND THE LEVITE*
In the parable, are a priest and a Levi. The priest is naturally a Jew and, besides, a man of deep religious convictions. The priests were powerful upper-class authorities governing the Temple cult. There is also a Levite, a Jew, and also a religious person, and a member of the priestly community. The Levites were the priests’ associates, who provided music, incense, sacred bread, Temple curtains and adornments. Their duties also included “kosher meatpacking” and banking (You can call him a seminarian or altar server).

In the parable, the priest and Levite did not pay any attention to the wounded man, chiefly because of their misplacement of priority and utter selfishness. Misplaced zeal for their religious duty gave them a couple of lame excuses as:

(a) If the man is dead and we touch him we will be unclean for seven days and disqualified from Temple service
(Numbers 19:11).

(b) This may be a trap set for us, by hiding bandits. (This excuse has some validity, as bandits sometimes did use a “wounded” member to decoy a prospective victim into stopping, thus setting himself up for robbery).

Hence, the parable’s priest and Levite, however, represent the most religious conservatives and fundamentalists who strive after religious correctness at the expense of holiness and true humanism.

Furthermore, they are people who are always demanding their rights, but never talking about their responsibilities as Christians, and forgetting God on the process (ndi na azo right ha). They are not ready to forfeit or temper their ego for peace, love and forgiveness to reign. They are the set of people who wear big scapulars and medals, front and back, carry long Rosaries, yet they are not ready to show love. They are not in good terms with their neighbours.

Those represented by the priest and levite will equally overlook you and refuse to assist, even when your destiny is in their hands. Some village uncles and aunties belong to this fold. They are selfish, stingy and self righteous.

(4) *THE GOOD SAMARITAN*
There is a Samaritan, whom we only know as some kind of a merchant. We know nothing about his religious convictions but it seems that his religious faith is irrelevant to the story. The Samaritan was generous enough to see the wounded Jew as a neighbor. He ignored the long history of enmity between his people and the Jews. The Jews regarded the Samaritans as a bastard race by Judean standards yet, he became the hero of the day. They are those who have set their priorities right. They strive after love; always altruistic and ready to help. They are simply the destiny helpers and propellers. They place love above the law. To such a people, eternal life awaits.

_*LIFE MESSAGES*_
(1) *WE MUST CONTEXTUALISE THIS PARABLE*
The best way to contextualise this parable is by realising that the road to Jericho passes right through our home, parish, school and workplace. Perhaps, the people around us like our colleagues, spouses, friends, the sick, children or parents lying “wounded” by bitter words or scathing criticism or by other more blatant forms of verbal, emotional or physical abuse. Hence, Jesus invites us to place aright pur priorities by showing love to others, in our families, homes, relationships, communities, workplaces and neighbourhoods.

(2) *WE SHOULD STRIVE TO BREAK BARRIERS OF INHERITED HATRED AND ENMITY*
One of the ugliest factors that promote and escalate rift and disunity in our families is inherited enmity. Most of these are trans-generational and inter-generational. They have lingered for ages. We see the good Samaritan breaking such age long barrier of hatred and bias by showing love to a Jew who never regarded them as humans. Obviously, the Jews and the Samaritans during the time of Jesus hated each other. .
Hence, we ought to love and show mercy to our enemies. This means people we hate, as well as those who hate us. It is an invitation for people of all times to love their enemies; to love those they have previously hated.

(3) *WE MUST LEARN TO TOUCH LIVES*
It is pertinent to note that those we celebrate most as heroes today are those who really went out of their ways to touch lives. The Good Samaritan is celebrated today as a hero because he touched someones life. Therefore, let us be willing to touch the lives of those around us for good without minding the colour, race, tribe, nationality, ethnicity and religion.

Finally, a story was told about a small town in Germany that was severely blasted during the last war. Some years later, the buildings were restored and one was the town’s cathedral. When the renovation was complete, a large figure of Christ the King, which stood in front of the cathedral, remained unrepaired, where both the hands had been blown off in the explosion. When there was no sign of it being repaired, some people went to the parish priest to enquire about it. He surprised them all by saying that he was going to leave the statue exactly as it was. He told them that he had prepared a plaque to be place: “I have no hands; will you be my hand?”

Beloved, we can only respond to this epilogue question by being an instrument in God’s hand as a Good Samaritan to touch lives and winning souls for God.

*BENEDICTION:*
MAY THE LORD GIVE US A HEART THAT FEELS THE PLIGHT OF OTHERS
AND THE WILL TO EMPATHISE AND RENDER ASSISTANCE TO THOSE IN NEED. AMEN.

*HAPPY SUNDAY!*
*FR GERALD MUOKA*




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