HOMILY FOR THE 21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: STRIVE TO ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE
BY: Fr Livinus C. Igbodekwe
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY AUGUST 21 2022
There are always two ways to things. The good way and the bad way. The Psalmist crystallized this view in the First Psalm where he points out the blessedness of the man who walks in good and godly ways as opposed to the one who walks, stands or sits in the way of scorners or sinners, and the consequences that will be their lot. These two ways refer to two standards or models of living. So the way to heaven may not necessarily be seen only as pointing to a physical road or a path, but to a way of life. The way of life that will get one to heaven is what is figuratively described by Jesus Christ as being narrow and hard. Surely, no one can indubitably claim that heaven is easy. It will require someone like Jesus Christ, the only One who came from heaven, to tell us how the way to heaven is. He, Jesus, is that Way (Jn14:6). For us to get to heaven, we must be live like Him. That implies that we must preach what He preached; endure the things He endured; suffer all He suffered; die the way He died. If heaven has an easy, luxurious pathway, He would’ve told us. The three readings show us some of the things we must engage in in order to make heaven at last.
I. Getting Involved in Mission: the first reading from Isaiah 66 tells us that God paved the way of salvation through the Jews. And, in the time to come, God will extend the mission of salvation to other nations, who will come back to re-evangelize and regather Israel. This means that the nations of the world must hear the Gospel before the day of reckoning dawns, so that no one can feign ignorance of the way of salvation. And we all are in these days Isaiah is prophesying about. We are still on the mission of evangelizing the world. It is a collective call.
II. A Disciplined Living: going to heaven will take much training and punishments. God trains us by means of tests. He delights in seeing us overcome anger, strife, hatred, persecution, etc. When we do fall, He punishes us as sons. He chastises us to show us where we are wrong and to direct us to the good. Sin brings consequences. The Book of Proverbs admonishes: “Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe his discipline” (Prov. 3:11). The next verse explains the reason behind the exhortation: “for the Lord disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights” (Prov. 3:12).
III. Having a Record of Good Memories: our works are recorded in the book of memory. There’s a book God made reference to in Exodus 32:32 and Rev. 3:5: “The Book of Life,” from which the names of the disobedient and sinful will be blotted out. This book is metaphorical. It may imply that once a name is deleted, the bearer of such name is forgotten. In the Gospel, Jesus says that all workers of iniquity will stand on the judgment day to recount how much service they have rendered in His name. Yet, the Lord will say to them, “Depart from me for I do not know you.” That may not imply that The Lord never knew them but that their names are not in the Record of the Firstborn Sons of God, and heirs of His kingdom. Such denial will be the sentence of punishment of eternal damnation which will include isolation in darkness and gnashing of teeth.
Let us go by the hard, narrow path. It may be difficult, but we rely on God’s disciplinary grace to make it to heaven. Going to heaven may be uneasy but it is not impossible!
Happy Sunday to you!