FR. JUSTIN’S HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 23RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE II
THEME: BEING FOCUSED AS CHRISTIANS
BY: Fr. Justin Nzekwe
HOMILY FOR FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 9 2022
One of the greatest mistakes we make as Christians is to compare ourselves with others. Such attitude makes us to think that we are making enough effort, and therefore we gradually begin to relax and most times we even lose focus. Saint Paul in the first reading uses the example of a runner in an athletic event to teach us the importance of being focused as Christians. He says, “Don’t you know that, in stadium races, everyone runs, but only one wins the prize? You too run in order to conquer it!” The runners discipline themselves by putting in so much practice, they are selective in what they eat, and they take out time to strategize on how to win the race, so also Christians should be able to put in such energy and commitment in their journey with God. So, if runners make all these sacrifices just to win a reward that has only an earthly value, what about us whose reward is both earthly and eternal? Should we not be able to put in more effort in our spiritual growth?
However, the gospel reading warns us against being hypocrites. Hypocrites are those who refused to do a self-introspection of their lives. They are those who only look outside, but are so much afraid to look inwards. Jesus asked, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye and don’t notice the beam that is in your eye? How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,” while you yourself do not see the beam that is in your eye?” Judging others as sinners doesn’t make you a saint. Saying negative things about others also doesn’t make you a Saint. A Saint is one who acknowledges his own weakness and continues to make personal effort on a daily basis. A Saint is someone who has compassion on sinners and tries to assist them without judging them. A Saint is someone who knows that he still needs God is his life, and make every effort to remain closer to God always. A Saint is one who can make an unbiased assessment of his personal relationship with God, and makes effort to improve each day. Obviously, saints are not hypocrites who think they are perfect, while before God they are sinners. God is so much interested in our efforts, and if he sees that we are making honest effort, he will grants us the grace to be better Christians. We therefore pray in this holy mass for the grace to remain focus in our Christian journey without being distracted by the temporal things of this world, so that after our earthly journey we will receive the reward of eternal life. Amen.