Homily for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: The Lord rescues his people from the evil hand of enemies.
By: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
Homily for Sunday August 18 2019
READINGS: Jeremiah 38: 4-6.8-10, Ps. 39, Heb 12: 1-4, Luke 12: 49-53
Those who have the Lord as their strength and refuge often get enemies and enter into trouble. Genuine and honest people suffer a lot especially people of great faith and good spiritual standing. Looking at the scriptures both Old and New Testaments, godly personalities of the bible go into serious accusations, persecution, trials and sufferings especially in the hands of the ungodly. The most annoying and surprising thing is that God who knows their innocence and righteousness would keep quiet and allow those calamities to fall upon them. This is why St Augustine said that for this reason of how he treats his friends, his friends are few. Jeremiah was called by God right from his mother’s womb without him desiring to do the work of God as a prophet and he was quick to tell God that he does not know how to speak and God stretched his hand on his lips and filled him with strength and the power of his word. Earlier God had promised him not to be afraid of them for he will be with him and protect him and swore by himself to do so. He the Lord put the words into his mouth and asked him to say them that way to the people he sends him to. (Jer. 1: 4-10). This promised Jeremiah is seen today in hot soup where the Princes have gathered against him asking the king for the life of Jeremiah. King Zedekiah consented to their request and led him to their hands to do with him whatever pleased them. They took Jeremiah and threw him into a miry pit and he was sunk. He was to die there in pain of hunger and thirst. One would be right to say that God has led him out into the dark and put off the light leaving him in the dark. God has deceived him and showed his unfaithfulness and inability of his hand to save the one he has called. We feel sometime like this when we had to suffer for our innocence especially when we have done good things for the sake of God or defending the cause of God, truth and righteousness. If Jeremiah is not a man of deep faith and trust in the Lord, he would feel disappointed with God and would swear not to worship him again.
Beloved in Christ, God did not promise us goodies and no suffering for following him but as the psalm said: Many are the trials of the just but the Lord sets him free in them all. If there is something that we cannot accuse God of it is unfaithfulness and deceit. In our troubles, he proves his presence and has a plan to rescue us. If we do not enter into troubles and danger of death we would not discover the power of the Lord to save and would not see clearly his acts of love and miracles. The apostles were with Jesus in the troubled water, Jesus was with Mary and Martha during the time prior the death of Lazarus, he was there when the centurion came to him to ask for the healing of the son who was about to die, he saw the lame man at the lake waiting for miracle for years without getting help for healing and other instances; he allowed those situations to happen but the end was decided by him and the change came from him, they are recorded today as miracles and the interventions of God. Jeremiah’s situation was not different in the first reading. God sent Ebed-melech the Ethiopian an African again like Simon of Cyrene, Joseph of Arimathea, and Veronica to be used to do the miracle. He spoke to the King who this time agreed with him that Jeremiah be rescued and with three other people, they drew him out safely back to life. Beloved, this is why the second reading reminded us that since we are surrounded by many cloud of witnesses we should lay aside every weight of sin that clings on us and run with perseverance the race that is before us. We should concentrate on Jesus who is our pioneer and perfecter of our faith. We should look unto him and accept the weight of the cross and despise the shame of it because we have a throne awaiting us. We are not to grow weary or fainthearted, and in our struggle against sin and evil people we have not yet resisted to the point of shading our blood. Jesus came to cast fire on the earth and bring division between us and the evil minded people. The fire of Jesus is to burn off all the evil minded people and defeat them at last. The righteous are to have points of division with the sinner because they cannot agree since light has nothing in common with darkness. In the mist of two close people, they would be divided because of faith and the righteous would not compromise his faith in order that peace may reign; this is how the division would come.
May the Lord never allow us to die in the trap of the enemy and may he not allow the wicked to throw us into the miry clay rather may he make haste and save us from their hands. Let the Lord put new song in our mouth and songs of deliverance when the enemy has set the song of mourning for us. We pray that the Lord who is our rescuer and our God would not allow our strength to wane before he comes to our rescue but grant us the grace to endure and persevere to the end when he would come with mighty help to save us, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf