Homily for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: IN WISDOM, MAY WE FOLLOW CHRIST COME WHAT MAY
By: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
Homily for Sunday September 8 2019
READINGS: WISDOM, 9:13-18b, PSALM 90, PHILEMON 9b-10.12-17, LUKE 14:25-33
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, the liturgy of the word today invites us to seek the wisdom of God through his Holy Spirit, for without it our reasoning and wisdom is at best worthless (Wis. 9: 13-18). Besides, we are called to be peacemakers (for peacemakers are God’s children Matt. 5:9), seeking to reconcile the many differences prevalent among human beings today like Paul did between Onesimus and Philemon (Phil. 9b-17). Also, we are exhorted to faithfully follow Christ come what may, cross or death (Lk. 14:25-33). May God’s grace be sufficient for us as we struggle to hearken these calls, amen.
Dear friends in Christ let us take a close look at the gospel passage, (Lk. 14:25-33) and see what message we can take home from Jesus’ life and teaching. This episode took place while Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, his mind preoccupied by one thought; the salvation of man regardless of the imminent suffering and death.
The first thing that strikes me about this episode is the huge crowds that followed him (Lk. 14:25). Although some say that the people thought Christ was on his way to take over an empire and followed him to enjoy with him; I choose to see it differently. Before now Christ had repeatedly told his followers that he was going to Jerusalem where he will be handed over to men who will in turn kill him (Matt. 16:21). Those who followed Christ therefore knew exactly what he was to undertake in Jerusalem, the cross. Brethren, it takes a man with a peculiar attraction, one with an impeccable character whose life and activities astonish people (Lk. 4:22,32) to pull this kind of crowd even in the face of imminent persecution and death. Now, if I may ask; how many of us lead lives that attract people to us even in our safest moments? Can we have people risk their lives for us as the large crowd did for Christ today? This is a call for a conscious examination of our attitudes and a redirection of our coarsened ways of life.
Jesus Christ is not interested in cheap invitations to discipleship. All too often the call to discipleship has eternal benefits and advantages; however, salvation and discipleship involve much more. They involve an unbelievable cost, the supreme sacrifice: renunciation of family and self (Lk. 14:26), BEARING THE CROSS(vv. 27), BEING THOUGHTFULand counting the cost (vv. 28-32) and forsaking all – GIVING UP EVERYTHING (vv. 33-35). These are the needful requisites to be possessed by all who are true disciples of Christ.
The message for us my beloved brothers and sisters is quite simple. Our Lord Jesus Christ at the call of his father, accepted to save man through the cross, he never lived for himself, personal and family (Mk. 3:31-35; Matt. 12:46-50) cares never stood in his way as he carried out his God given mission. He therefore expects that we, his disciples should follow in his steps. We must take care not to think that Jesus asked us to literarily hate ourselves and family; remember he tells us love even our enemies (Lk. 6:27). What then does Christ intend for his disciples?
√•That he is first in our lives: before family and self.
√•That Christ is put before family: even if one’s family opposes his decision to follow Christ.
√•That Christ is first: before the companionship and comfort and pleasure of family and home.
√•All is put behind Christ and his mission. Our love and devotion to Christ and his cause must take precedence over all we have and are.
Dear friends in Christ, Jesus calls us today to count the cost and weigh the consequences of discipleship before venturing into it. True enough it entails: family and friends being put after Christ and centered around him; home with its comforts and extravagances being put after Christ; work (jobs), being centered around Christ and used to earn enough so as to help those who do not have (Eph.4:28); using our investments and money for God’s cause etc. Beloved in Christ whatever a person has, time and possessions, it will cost him, indeed, he must surrender all to Christ; meaning he must be willing to use it in the Lord’s mission, the mission of helping a world lost and reeling under the weight of enormous needs.
Finally, brothers and sisters in Christ, in as much as true discipleship will always cost us all we have and are, the rewards it brings us cannot be overemphasized. Those who follow Christ as they ought; stand the chance of having life in abundance, for that is what Christ came for (Jn.10:10). Also, those who leave father, mother, home etc. for the sake of the kingdom of God will receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life (Lk.18:29-30).
May we follow Jesus Christ always and FEEDING and EDUCATING the poor around us; gain eternal rewards through Christ our Lord. Amen.