HOMILY FOR 5TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – YEAR B
THEME: THE LORD DOES NOT ABANDON HIS OWN!
BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
(JOB. 7:1-46-7, 1COR9:16-19,22-23, MK. 1:29-39)
The poem “Footprints In The Sand” by Carolyn Joyce Carty, is about a man who in his dream was walking by the beach with the Lord. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. So, he questioned the LORD about it: “LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way…. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.” The LORD replied: “My son, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
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Most of us probably already know the story of Job. He was a man who believed completely in the Lord and had receive enormous blessings. The devil tries to undo this faith of Job. Eventually all the blessings are removed and sufferings are heaped on Job. While Job questions what is happening, he never doubts nor loses faith.
Sometimes, it seems God allows suffering so people can mature or grow through it. Like Job, the same is true for us! God is so confident that we can overcome the temptations set us by the devil, that he never gives up on us, even at times when we might be tempted to give up on ourselves! It is important for us to remember this, particularly at those moments in our lives when doubts might creep in, or we might question how much longer we must keep struggling, not only with matters of faith, but even with matters of life itself. As Paul would say God will not let you be put to the test beyond your strength. (1Cor 10:13)
Job’s case reminds us of our own daily struggles with the problems of life. Above all, it reminds us, of what at times, seems to us as the “grave silence or absence of God” in our lives. They are terrible moments that make us ask questions like: God, where are you? Why me? What have I done wrong? God answers these, question at his own time and in his own way. With the present pandemic, economic crisis and much uncertainty in the foreseeable future, most of us can easily resonate with Job in the first reading this Sunday
Job expresses the sad reality about life: “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?” He considers man as a slave or hireling. This may sound too negative a view about life. But this is the truth – a painful truth. We can never find complete happiness in our life on earth. This realization should lead us to long for heaven, which is our true home. There is, therefore, no reason for us to be attached to this world. Rather, our gaze and attention should be focused on achieving the fullness of joy and salvation in our heavenly home. Which is as our Catechism says is the reason why God created us.
Jesus preached, healed and delivered people from all kinds of infirmities and problems. There was no one who encountered him with faith that he did not heal. If Jesus must heal us, we too must have faith in him. Also, If the good news must liberate us, we must believe it. The power of Jesus is still the same today. He is ready to heal those who come to him in faith and humility.
My brothers and sisters, are we that strong in faith? Can we trust God even when we question? Do we accept both blessings and suffering or possibly sacrifice from our Lord? Is God actually the reason for our suffering? The Responsorial Psalm invites us to “Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.” God is not to be blamed for our miseries in life because he does not abandon his own.
God bless you!
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