Homily for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: The goal of every Christian
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday August 25 2019
The ultimate aim of every Christian is to see God; “my soul is thirsting for God when shall I see Him face to face” (Psalm 42:2). May God keep us focused by the power of His grace to reach this goal through Christ our Lord; Amen.
Some parables of our Lord Jesus Christ are really unsettling. A good example is the parable of today’s Gospel Reading (Luke 13:22-30). It is unimaginable how one could have such close relationships of ‘eating, drinking and of being taught by someone’ and at the end of it all one of the parties would reply with such shocking response; “I do not know where you come from.” As if to widen the confusion, Jesus concluded the parable with another heavy statement; “some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” How can the first be last and the last become first? This message must be understood within the context of our communities.
Most often, we classify people with our own standards and measures. In some of our communities, the first are those who are financially capable. In some others, the first are those who are endowed with attractive physical qualities. In some others it may be intelligence, position, affluence, connections, talents, craft, etc. These qualities are good and indispensable in our communities; but they can also be distractive and destructive because of the external influence they command. They can be distractive and destructive because of the deception people can create with them. The reality of this deception in some of our communities is what gives value and validity to Jesus’ eschatological assertion that the first shall be the last and the last shall be the first.
Yes this assertion may sound awkward but it is indeed true. Sometimes we play to the gallery to win the admiration of men and women and to win prestige in the sight of all and we forget that to gain the admiration of God and His approval is more valuable than the sum of all the prestige and praise we may gain from people. Those who play to the gallery to win the admiration and applause of men and women are those who are first who will eventually become last. When we work to win God’s admiration and approval, we may be relegated by men and women; mocked by the world and even ridiculed by friends. We may even share the most ignoble of positions in the community we belong. These are irrelevant! What matters is that you have won God’s admiration by your firm resolve to stand for what is godly and divine. Before people you may be ignored! In fact, you are the last in the community. But then, before God you are the first! Can’t you see? “Some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
We pray for the grace to persevere to the very end in order to belong to the group of those who will truly be ‘first’ in the Kingdom of God; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE