HOMILY FOR THE 17TH SUNDAY IN THE ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
HOMILY THEME: What type of outcry about you reaches God?
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
HOMILY: READINGS: Genesis 18: 20-32, Ps. 137, Colossians 2: 12-14, Luke 11: 1-13
We do not live alone to ourselves because the life of each person affects the others. No one lives as an island or in a self world of no contact and touch with others but whatever life we lead even when we think it is personal and what we often call our own life affects others. Your freedom is limited because of the freedom of others. So in the first reading, while Sodom and Gomorrah were living the life which they thought was theirs, it was affecting other nations and people around them. They were complaining to God about the life of Sodom and Gomorrah. God who knows we are closely knitted to each other understood the pain that they are causing other nations. He had to send angels to go and inquire if the complains are real and true so that he would take action about it. So know that your life has effect on others and they do say something about you to God. So in your heart of hearts and good conscience and in right self judgment what do you think people say about you and what effect is your life to others around you, God has interest in it and would not keep silence.
Beloved, something is very surprising and note worthy here. God had patience with Sodom and Gomorrah over what he heard about them and never acted by hearsay. He had time to investigate into the matter to ascertain the truth before taking action. He had to send a committee of persons to make inquiry and findings. These probably must be angels. Most often human beings act instantaneously upon hearing something and condemn and punish immediately without being sure. We have to learn from God about the charity and need of cross-checking information and certainty of information prior action. It is also good to note that despite the impending doom and anger of God on us, there are some people and powers that God listens to who are continuously interceding for you and intervening in your judgment before God. For the people of Sodom and Gomorrah it was Abraham and in your case you do not know and it may be the virtuous life of some insignificant persons around you or the prayer of the one whom you see as your enemy. It could be the innocent child who tells God to spear you. Know that someone somewhere or some Angels and saints are daily interceding for you. You may be alive today because of fifty good and righteous people that God found in your life or your family and community. It may be the thirty or twenty and even the ten and five that God looks at and shows mercy on you. If someone’s righteousness has kept you alive and won God’s mercy for you why can’t you change and let your righteousness save others too? You would face the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah if after the intervention of the saints and not even one righteous person can attract the mercy of God in your life. So also others would perish because you cannot even be the righteous one who can attract God’s mercy to save them. So in our society today, who is it that because of him or her God can save us?
Beloved, come to realize that at baptism you were buried with Christ and raised to new life with and in him. You are dead in trespasses like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the non-circumcision of your flesh, yet God has made you safe by his forgiving power having cancelled your guilt which stood against you. He has nailed all these consequences and penalty of your transgression on the cross of Jesus Christ. You are much luckier that Sodom and Gomorrah. None could in their case pacify God and save them; yours is different.
Beloved in Christ, how do you appreciate this kind gesture of God, how do you reciprocate it and show that you are grateful to God? At least you should respond to God by having a good prayer life. If you do not know how to pray ask the spirit of God to teach you as the disciples did in the gospel today. Let your prayer be filled with praise of God and thanksgiving and show complete reliance and trust in his grace. Go to him always for grace to overcome daily temptation to sin and to deal with your habitual sins. Do not let your daily needs lead you to sin, work sincerely for it and ask God to provide what is necessary for your daily needs. When you do this, make the final act of faith of forgiving the trespasses of others no matter how grave and serious they may be because yours against God is more grave and the ones you commit against others may be more than the ones people commit against you.
Beloved, the love of God in our lives cannot be described and it does not have an end or a limit. You must persist in asking from God above all through a change of life. Even when it delays never lose hope our God is not hardened at heart but can change his heart when he sees our complete trust and confidence in him alone as our only and last resort. Disturb the heaven, worry God and do not allow him to rest and he shall surly change your situation with blessing of his graces. Never believe that he cannot do anything about your situation for that would amount to sin against the Holy Spirit for nothing is impossible with God. Behave like Jacob and swear never to let God rest until he blesses you. But for the blessings to come a change of heart must first be made.
Lord, answer me on the day I call to you. I ask that you hear the words of my mouth and give me opportunity to praise you in the presence of the angels who intercede for me. Lord, give me opportunity to witness more of your merciful love that I may thank you. I pray that out of anger and the guilt of my sins, you will not discard the work of your hands, Amen.
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