HOMILY FOR THE 20TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: STAND FIRM FOR WHAT IS RIGHT
BY: Fr. Arthur Ntembula
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY AUGUST 14 2022
(Jeremiah 38:4-6.8-10, Hebrews 12:1-4, Luke 12:49-53)
Jesus desires that his gospel pierces through the hearts of his followers: You and I. Our hearts should burn with the message of Christ so that the gospel can as well burn through the earth to its ends. Through baptism and confirmation, Christ has set us on fire. Our presence should, therefore, be a glow of the light of God to others. Jesus, in today’s gospel, says, “I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!” We are carriers of this fire. How he wishes that we were already glowing and burning to re-create our society!
Additionally, the gospel divides those who want to embrace the light and those who want to remain in darkness. Jesus says, “Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” The presence of Christ upsets those who want to cling to evil because they wish to continue living in darkness. On the other hand, it is good news for those who struggle toward perfection. Jesus highlights the tag of war between good and evil in our life. While some people want to do good, others want to do the opposite. In this tag of war, Jesus wishes that we burn with his fire to allow his light to triumph. We Christians have a duty to stand firm against evil by burning it with the message of Christ. Without intimidation, we should stand out, stand up and raise our voices against whatever is bad. This is what it means to burn with the fire of Christ and to transform our society with it.
Jeremiah, in the first reading, speaks without fear. His prophecy challenges the powers of his times, and this upsets tables. He is rejected and condemned by those who want to remain in darkness. Because of this, he finds himself in prison. The soldiers tie him up and lower him into the mouth of death, the muddy cistern. They aim to silence him. Ebed-Melech, sent by God, pleads with the king, and Jeremiah is saved from death.
God has his own ways of saving and sustaining those who want to stand for what is right against all odds. There is a lot of intimidation in the world. It is not easy to say anything against powerful people in society today. But Christ is saying that we should always burn with his message. It means that we should not mince our words whenever we face evil, regardless of who is behind it. When we speak with boldness, it is Christ that speaks in us. We may be rejected or convicted for it like Jeremiah, but our God will always see us through. He shall vindicate us. Jesus Christ himself faced obstacles in his ministry. Not everybody accepted his message. It even got him killed. The apostles and many saints went through persecution as well. But they never gave up the truth. They never sold it out for some pieces of coins. They continued burning with God’s message even though it made some people uncomfortable.
Regardless of the challenges that we are likely to face in our ministry, Jesus wants us to still burn with the fierce fire of his gospel. He wants us to recreate our society in his image. We cannot do this unless we are ready to challenge evil without comprise. In her prophetic ministry, the Church always speaks out to challenge anything that does not respect the integrity and dignity of the human person. All of us are the Church. Therefore, we are to be the light and conscience of society, exposing all dark corners so that the good values of life could be fostered and promoted. Unless we are already burning to recreate our society, we are not yet Christians. Jesus wishes that his fire were already burning! We are the fire that he brought to blaze on the face of the earth.
ENJOY YOUR LITURGY
Fr. Arthur Ntembula