Homily for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: STAND FOR THE TRUTH STILL; GOD IS NEVER FAR AWAY
By: Rev Fr Jacob Aondover ATSU
Homily: READINGS: JEREMIAH 38:4-6.8-10, PSALM 40, HEBREWS 12:1-4, LUKE 12:49-53
The prophet Jeremiah preached in Judah around 588 BC against the folly of political alignments and ambitions. Judah had been ruled by so many irreligious kings, whose ambitions were to be free politically and prosper economically they had forgotten what Deuteronomy 17 :14-20 says about kings of the chosen race “He shall not have a great number of houses, wives, silver and gold. He shall have the copy of the law, read it always and learn how to fear God, he must observe faithfully the word of the law, not exult himself against his people.” The kings of Judah (many of them) up to Zedekiah failed God and when Jeremiah came preaching to them instead of heeding his call, they maltreated him and wanted him dead. It took the help of Ebedmelech the Ethiopian for Jeremiah to be saved.
FIRSTLY: JEREMIAH: he has become the model and guide of those who stand for true religion; those who are not afraid to stand alone even when every other person thinks otherwise. No wonder Exodus 23:2 exhorts us never to join or follow the crowd in doing wrong and perverting justice. For those who have chosen to STAND FOR THE TRUTH OPPOSING EVIL, INJUSTICE and CORRUPTION, the fate of Jeremiah may not be far from them; – courage I say, it pays to be sincere and truthful! Those who dare to criticize the rich and powerful of our society; the leaders and all who steal with the stroke of the PEN; those who dare to denounce institutionalized thievery, and embezzlement too, the fate of Jeremiah might just be their lot. Courage still for God will surely come to our aid!
SECONDLY: GOD DOES NOT ABANDON HIS SERVANTS especially those persecuted, isolated and imprisoned prophets of his. He is always by them PROVIDING, PROTECTING SUSTAINING and SAVING them, perhaps though some honest people like the Ethiopian, Ebedmelech.
• He delivered the Israelites from Egypt, the land of slavery (Ex. 12:31ff).
• When Israel came to the red sea Pharaoh advanced towards them, God saved them again (Ex. 14:15ff).
• When hunger and thirst threatened their lives, God again saved them by providing Mana, quails and water (Ex. 16:4ff. 17:1-7).
• When Goliath threatened David and the Israelites, God was there to save them (1Sam 17:48-51).
• When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were cast into the burning fiery furnace, God did not abandon them, he came to their aid (Dan. 13:19ff).
• When Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den by Darius, God intervened and delivered him from the predating claws of the lions (Dan. 6:17ff).
Today therefore, being confident that our God saves his own who are in danger or persecuted we must continue standing against evil come what may. He’d not let the just university student suffer unjustly in the hands of the ungodly, ‘agbaya’ kinda lecturers. God will never let the young and chaste lady who chooses to stay off immorality to be molested and denied her due entitlements by some wicked and covetous bosses; he will necessarily come to their aid.
THIRDLY: The Ethiopian EBEDMELECH has become our teacher. He was a pagan servant of Zedekiah. We may note here that servants hadn’t any right to be involved in serious affairs of state, religion and tradition. Ebedmelech must have employed a great deal of courage to approach the king. His courage, sincerity and crave for justice saved Jeremiah. Beloved in Christ, everyone has something to offer, no one is too common to save situations. kindly make that saving move today: speak up, condemn (rationally) the ills of our time, vouch for the welfare of sales boys and girls, domestic staff (gardeners, cooks, cleaners, gatekeepers, etc); you may be making a massive impact! Never say you are too little or insignificant to make a suggestion or contribution, you might end up not saving a situation that you should have remedied. COURAGE!!!
In the FOURTH PLACE – the Princes to the king and the king to have some lessons for us. The king ZEDEKIAH could be likened to the INEPT COWARDS we often have as leaders who surround themselves with hypocritically oriented hypocrites as advisors (cabinet members) . Like the princes who only lied to the king and nearly fooled him into killing Jeremiah, the advisors, cabinet members, personal secretaries of our present day leaders advance only fake, disastrous, selfish etc. suggestions that are directly opposed to the virtues of justice, the common good and truth. We are challenged never to be like Zedekiah and his princes.
Like Jeremiah had to endure great opposition from the sinful and evil princes of his age, many of the good men and women of contemporary society are bedeviled by the rancorous and fiery persecution unleashed by the wicked and callous minded powers we have today.
To these I say “Keep running steadily in the race we have started. Never lose sight of Christ who leads us in faith and perfected it” (Heb. 12:. Himself endured great opposition from the sinful Jews but courageously ran the race to the finish line. His saving gospel divided the good against the evil, the godly against the ungodly, the virtuous against the vicious (as it does to this day). We may do well however, never to pitch our tents on the wrong side but always standing by him, lead a faithful, courageous, committed and Christian lifestyle.
Dear Lord, bless us with Christ-like people like Jeremiah and Ebedmelech; protect us from indecisive and inept leaders such as Zedekiah and save us from the many ‘agbaya’ and evil Princes in our governments. Amen.
FEED AND EDUCATE ONE…