HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 23RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I
THEME: CARING FOR THE POOR AND THE DISADVANTAGED
BY: Fr Francis Onwunali
HOMILY: On this first working day of the twenty-third week, caring for the poor and the disadvantaged is central in today’s readings. Those who have not yet experienced the effect of the Gospel in their lives are also disadvantaged and should be cared for too.
In the gospel (Luke 6: 6-11), Jesus, not minding the evil intentions of the Scribes and Pharisees, called out the man with withered hand to stretch out his hand and be healed on a Sabbath day. By setting this man free, not only will he participate fully in the joy of the Good News as proclaimed by Christ, but will witness to it.
St. Paul in the first reading (Col. 1: 24- 2: 3) shares his willingness to suffer for the sake of the gospel so that the Good News can reach to those who before now are not allowed to or have not been able to hear the Good News, the Gentiles. Hence, Paul said: “For this I labour and struggle, in accord with the exercise of His power working within me” (Col 1: 29).
Dear friends, we are called today to stretch out our hands constantly to be healed and to heal. According to St. Ambrose (337-397 AD), “You who think that you have a healthy hand beware lest it is withered by greed or by sacrilege. Hold it out often. Hold it out to the poor person who begs you. Hold it out to help your neighbour, to give protection to a widow, to snatch from harm one whom you see subjected to unjust insult. Hold it out to God for your sins”. Are you ready to stretch out the “withered” part of your life for healing?
I pray as we journey in life today, we will not fold our hands in the presence of need. As we stretch out our hands to heal, may the withered parts of our own life be healed and restored, for “in God alone is my safety and my glory” (Ps. 62: 8). Unlike the Pharisees and the Scribes, may no pride and deceit hinder us from doing God’s will nor receiving healing in our lives. Have a restoration-full day!
Fr Francis Onwunali