Homily for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: The true ministers of Christ
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday June 28 2020
God’s messengers not only bring the good News of Christ to God’s children, but they also embody in themselves the blessings which God has promised. Through them and by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in them, God ministers to His children, directing them through the path of righteousness and bestowing on them His heavenly blessings. In the fullness of life in Christ and following in the succession of the apostles and disciples of Christ, the ministers of Christ in the Church are called and chosen and commissioned to be the dispensers of the Word and of the Sacraments. In the actual sense, it is Christ who lives and works through them (Galatians 2:20), such that they are called to believe what they read in the Sacred Scripture and in the Sacred Tradition of the Church, to teach what they believe and to practice what they teach. Through their proclamation of the Word in the forms of Kerygma or Catechesis, they direct the sons and daughters of God through the right path and help them to grow in their knowledge of God and in their understanding of the faith they profess. Through the administration of the Sacraments, they bring them to new live, sanctify them and sustain them in this new life by the merits and blessings and favours of the life and ministry of Christ. In all of these, it is always Christ who is at work in them. The respect and privileges given to ministers is borne out of this special mode of God’s presence in them. May God’s ministers always be true to their identity and faithful in their responsibilities; Amen.
The respect and the privileges given to the ministers of God are built on the indispensable and inseparable link between the ministers and the Master who calls and chooses, namely, Christ the Lord. Left alone, no minister deserves any of these privileges or respect. They are given and received because of Christ, in the name of Christ and as unmerited rewards for the sake of the service which they render in the name and in the person of Christ and under the guidance of the Church. This was the case in the encounter of Elisha with the Shunnamite woman in the First Reading of today (2 Kings 4:8-11,13-16). This woman, through her spiritual sensitiveness and attentiveness, perceived the holiness of the man of God and the presence of God in the prophet saying to her husband, “look, I am sure the man who is constantly passing our way must be a holy man of God. Let us build him a small room on the roof, and put him a bed in it, and a table and chair and lamp; whenever he comes to us he can rest there.” Through this singular act of hers, she attracted God’s favours for herself and for her entire household through the ministry of the Prophet Elisha. Being hospitable to a man of God is a way of being hospital to God and such attitude attracts the blessings of the God of the minister just like the case was with this woman; “this time next year, he said you will hold a son in your arms.” This reality was confirmed by our Lord Jesus in His formation of His disciples as we heard in the Gospel Reading of today (Mt 10:37-42) “anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me… If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.” It is golden to be kind towards everyone and especially towards the ministers of God. It is also much more golden when ministers relatively justify this undeserved gesture by being true and faithful to their calling and being sincere and prudent in their dealings with the people of God.
It is no news that there have been occasions where ministers of God abuse these privileges and go to seek or represent other things different from what God wants; causing havoc in the lives of those he or she was sent to serve and save, and destroying homes he or she was meant to mend and nurture. It is not also strange that some people have used the guise of deceptive hospitality to exploit the gullibility and the fragility of God’s ministers; exposing them to dangers and making them suffer grievously for offenses they know nothing about by way of wrong accusations and blackmail. These two sides of the same coin are increasingly heard of in our society, causing increase in the loss of faith and deeply injuring the Body of Christ. Whichever way these go, the opposite of blessedness remains the reward. As those born anew in Christ, ours is always to spread the fragrance of Christ either as ministers or as members of the faithful such that the newness of life (Romans 6:3-4, 8-11) we have received may constantly be made manifest wherever we find ourselves through our words, actions, choices and countenance.
May God bless all of His chosen ministers with the grace to be true and faithful, and may He bless also all of the faithful to be hospitable, truthful and just in their dealings with His ministers and with their brothers and sisters; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE