Homily for Monday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: JESUS, OUR HOPE IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING
By: Rev Fr Utazi Prince Marie Benignus
Homily for Monday January 18 2021
Hebrews 5: 1-10; Psalm 110: 1, 2, 3, 4; Mark 2: 18-22
I pray for you: May you continue to be open to God’s plan for your life and see how you can be instrumental in bringing the Good News to others.
In the United States today, we honor the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His belief in God made him examine what God might be asking of him. He determined that it was God’s will for him to work for social justice and bring about new conditions and relationships for African Americans and for all Americans. He gave his all to make it possible for all peoples to consider themselves as brothers and sisters to each other under the Fatherhood of God. He looked to the example of his Savior, Jesus Christ, and was willing to give the proof of his love of his brothers and sisters by laying down his life for them.
Jesus asks us, in our own way, to take the Good News, step out in faith, and be instruments of change in our society where change needs to happen. It is difficult to change and work for change, particularly when we are comfortable with the status quo. Yet, if God moves us to change, we must follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
In the First Reading we see that in some ways Jesus is like the Hebrew priests of old: able to deal with other mortals because of being human and suffering like the rest of people. In some ways Jesus has a new sense of priesthood because He Himself was not sinful, but through His suffering He has brought the forgiveness of sins for all people. The Letter to the Hebrews is addressed to members of the Jewish faith (Hebrews) who have also become believers in Jesus as the Messiah. The author of this letter refers to the similarity and differences of Jesus and the Jewish high priests. Jesus, like the priests of old, can fully identify with the people whom He is called to sanctify because He shares the same nature with them. *Jesus has experienced all the pains and trials as the rest of humans experience.* What makes Jesus new and different than the Aaronic priests is that Jesus is completely obedient to the will of His Father, even to the point of experiencing suffering and death in obedience to His Father. Jesus is not only the priest but also the victim. Thus Jesus can be the source of eternal salvation for all people, unlike the Hebrew high priests who only symbolically offered sacrifices for the repentant people.
The psalm is part of the scripture which today’s passage from the Letter to the Hebrews quotes. It also speaks about one of the first “priest” mentioned in the Bible: Melchizedek. Yet it also speaks about new priesthood coming from God’s begotten Son. Psalm 110 speaks about the Messiah as a priest. In some ways the Messiah will be like the ancient (non-Jewish) priest Melchizedek. Melchizedek was the priest who prayed with Abraham. Melchizedek (meaning “king of peace”) has an unknown ancestry. He offers sacrifice for Abraham. He has a priesthood which has no known end. According to this psalm, the Messiah will be a new Melchizedek. He will offer sacrifice for peace. This Peace consists of shalom, forgiveness, pardon, healing, and reconciliation. His priesthood will have no end. The psalm also speaks of the Messiah as being the begotten Son of God.
In the Gospel, Jesus says there is something different about His disciples: they do not fast or perform acts of mortification while Jesus is present. Yet, like the believers of old, they too will fast when Jesus is not with them. Jesus speaking about the old and the new, identified His disciples as belonging to the new covenant (testament) in which they have a special relationship with Bridegroom. They are to rejoice while the Bridegroom is with them. A time will come when the Bridegroom will be taken away and then they will mourn and lament. Jesus goes on to use the analogy of sewing new cloth on old material. Since the new cloth will shrink more than the old material, it will pull away, and be separated, from the old cloth. Similarly, Jesus speaks about not putting new wine into old wine skins, because the new wine will burst the old wineskins. Jesus is telling the religious leaders of His day that things are different now: Jesus is bringing new meaning to old beliefs and is changing relationships.
Dear Sisters and Brothers, as human beings, we become accustomed to the old, yet are challenged to see the new. Life is in a state of flux. It is so tempting to remain with the old, “tested and true” ways. Yet, we are asked to be open to the newness which God gives. Yes, it is true that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but our understanding and relationship with God can take on new perspectives. God is constantly giving us new chances when we slip into our old ways of acting that is, sinning. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection we have been saved, but our acceptance of what that means can take on new meaning. Yes, there will be certain constants in our “always changing” world: the love God has for us, the redemptive action of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the ultimate dwelling in heaven to which we are being called. Each day I must commit myself anew to loving and serving my God by loving and serving those around me. One of the things we must suffer is the changes human life causes. Yet, our hope in the midst of that suffering is in Jesus, Who, “Son though He was, learned obedience from what He suffered; and when He was made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”
Therefore, Jesus is our hope in the midst of sufferings and pains. Develop a relationship with him and you will be happy. Maintain a relationship with him, and you will be fulfilled. No matter the ugly situation, Jesus is your deliverer and healer. He is your Redeemer. He is for you and he is for me, in all circumstances.
*MEDITATION* What aspects of my life seem to be changing in ways which might cause me a certain amount of uncomfortableness? How do I deal with change? Do I sense that the Lord Jesus can use the newness in my life to draw me closer to God? How can I help others when they are facing changes in their lives? What can I do to bring the Good News of Jesus to those who are forced to endure new experiences in their life beyond that with which they are comfortable?
*PRAYER* Lord God, help us to always become anew in the things of your Kingdom. Give us the grace to follow Jesus Christ and have authentic trust in him, who is Our only hope in the midst of suffering. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
*O DIVINE WORD WHO TOOK FLESH FOR HUMAN SAKE REDEEM US IN OUR SITUATION.*
©️Rev Fr Utazi Prince Marie Benignus