HOMILY FOR THE 20TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: REMAIN FAITHFUL AT ALL TIMES
BY: Fr. Justin Nzekwe
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY AUGUST 14 2022
Jesus promised us many rewards and blessings that will follow us as Christians, but he didn’t promise us a life free from suffering and persecution. It is from suffering that our faith in God is tested. If you have not endured any suffering because of your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, then your faith is still growing. Saint Paul has this to say about Jesus, “Think carefully about the one who has endured such great hostility from sinners against him, so that you will not tire of losing heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of blood in the fight against sin.” If everyone loves you as a Christian, you might need to review your faith once more.
In the Gospel reading of today, Jesus challenges us to remain faithful to him at all times, by putting him as the first and the most important person in our lives. Being faithful to God most times entails division. This is because truth is always opposed to lies and deception; the spirit of charity is the opposite of a selfish spirit; justice is the opposite of injustice, unfaithfulness is the opposite of faithfulness. If we love Jesus, then we must be ready to make some of the most important choices in our lives: We have to choose between Jesus and our family, between Jesus and our friends, and between Jesus and our possessions. Jesus desires us to be at peace with those around us and especially our family members, but we cannot do so by sacrificing our moral principles and spiritual life.
When Jesus in the gospel reading says, “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on, if there are five people in a family, they will be divided three against two and two against three; they will divide father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Jesus is not against family members living in peace, rather He wants us to place a higher value on attaining heaven. It is better to be disowned and hated by your own family members than consent to evil, just to please them. You profit nothing if you own the whole world only to spend eternity in hell fire.
The fire Jesus is referring to in the gospel reading of today is the fire of authentic truth and justice. Many people are so much afraid to hear the truth, and when you tell them the truth, you become their enemy. We must also accept that there are people who hate us even without knowing the reason for the hatred. There are those who even hate us simply because our lives are opposed to theirs. The first reading highlights the hatred some people have for prophet Jeremiah because he was preaching the truth. They accused him falsely and plotted to kill him, just to make sure he stops telling them the truth. However, God can never abandon his people. He knows all our efforts and sacrifices to be better Christians in spite of all the distractions and discouragements that comes our way. We must never give up in making effort to be better Christians.
We pray in this Holy Mass that God may continue to strengthen us, so that we may remain faithful in following God all the days of our lives.