HOMILY FOR THE 13TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
Theme: THE MISSION CALL
By: FR. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday, June 30 2019
Every one of us is a unique manifestation of the image of God. As we all are created uniquely so also are our missions and purposes unique. All of these unique missions and purposes ultimately lead us back to God our common origin and to heaven our common homeland. Ours is to recognise God’s specific and unique mission and purpose for each of us and to freely respond positively to God’s design so as to concretely contribute to the growth of God’s Kingdom. Lord, may Your Kingdom come; Amen
The undertone of all the readings of today is the fact that God calls everyone to a specific mission in the world. No one was created without a specific purpose and this specificity of purpose underlines the uniqueness of God’s call to each and every one of us. This truth is seen in the different encounters of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel Reading of today (Luke 9:51-62). We see the different attitudes of Jesus to three different persons with respect to followership and mission. These three persons bring home to us the truth that there are different ways of serving God and it is the One God Who calls us differently to these different ways of service. Further still, from the unnamed Samaritan Village that refused to receive Jesus for no just cause, we see the fact that some persons knowingly or unknowingly reject and refuse the call of God and His presence in their midst. On the one hand, irrespective of what the case may be, God’s call presupposes our freedom which we have received in full by the merits of Christ. The ultimate end of this freedom is to always respond positively to God. And on the other hand, we must also take to heart the truth that God’s call is never conditioned by our aspirations or by our personal agendas or choices. Irrespective of what our dispositions may be, God freely calls us to specific functions and duties and missions and He expects us to freely respond positively to His call because, in the words of Saint Paul in the Second Reading (Gal 5:1, 13-18) “we were called, as you know, to liberty; but we must be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence.” In this context, self-indulgence could be understood as an attitude of centralising ourselves and our aspirations and purposes without recourse to God’s definite intention and purpose; a situation in which we begin to succinctly consider ourselves as the masters and God as our servant. It is we to send God on a mission rather than the other way round and it is God to cooperate with us rather than the opposite.
The response of Elisha in the First Reading (I Kgs 19:16, 19-21) is presented to us today as a paradigm for a proper response to God’s call. The call of God requires a positive response that is total and radical and a complete concentration on the mission for which God has called us. This is seen in the very fact that “Elisha turned away, took the pair of oxen and slaughtered them. He used the plough for cooking the oxen, then gave to his men, who ate. He then rose, and followed Elijah and became his servant.” Nothing distracts us most from responding positively and entirely to God more than the goal and mission we have already set for ourselves. It takes a whole lot of spiritual strength and internal, mental and psychological resetting to give up our personal goals and dreams to follow an entirely new path which God has prepared for us. In giving up his occupation by slaughtering the pair of oxen and cooking them with his plough, Elisha signalled his total surrendering to the call of God and his complete disconnection from his personal goals and mission in pursuit of the mission from above. That moment of his decision became the starting point of his success story as a prophet of the Most High. Every one of us can situate himself or herself within the story of Elisha. Like him, we have our aspirations and dreams and goals; some of them very beautiful and praise worthy. Like him also, God always calls us, sometimes to the direction of our personal interests and aspirations and dreams and goals, and some other times to something totally different like it was for Elisha. Whatever the case may, it is only in freely responding positively to God’s call and plan for you or for me that we can truly realise ourselves. We can never have a more beautiful idea than God! You can never create a more satisfying and fulfilling mission than the one God has for you! God’s unique and specific purpose for you and for me is always the best.
May the Spirit of God continue to guide us through the right use of freedom, so that, in freely choosing to cooperate with God by leaving every other thing behind to pursue the specific mission He has for us, we may reign with Him in eternity; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE