Homily for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Theme: BE COURAGEOUS! HEAVENLY RACE IS LIKE CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN.
By: Rev. Fr. Peter Ekwebelem
When a mountain stands before you, you might experience fear, when you stand on top of the mountain you experience faith. When a mountain stands before you there might be humiliation, when you stand on top of the mountain there is always a celebration. Before the mountain there might be problems, on top of the mountain solutions abound. When a mountain stands on your way there might be despair, but on top the same mountain lies hope. When you are at the foot of the mountain, you see nothing beyond, but stand on top of the mountain, you will see everything.
You might see the mountain before you as a hindrance, but at the mountain top always comes deliverance. The mountain may stand before you as an obstacle, but getting on top of it, you embrace miracles. A great Frustration m might be seen before the mountain, but right on top of the mountain comes a great celebration.
Heavenly race is like climbing the mountain (of salvation). It directs you upwards. In climbing the mountain, every part of your body must be involved and focused. The climbing of a mountain involves strength which is Faith, it involves courage which is love, and it also involves patience which is Hope. Faith, Hope and love.
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Some of the reasons that made those invited to the wedding feasts to reject the invitation are these, the condition given for the invitation is not an easy type, the time for the wedding feast is not all that favorable, the location where the wedding will hold is not very enticing for canal mortals and the sudden nature of the invitation was not all that accommodating.
The condition is that you must be vested with the wedding garment , you must look like the bride and the groom, it must be a uniform, for this must be a wedding of transformation. This indicates that you must be meek and humble once you are seated for the feast. A certain man was found who was not putting on his wedding garment, and he was thrown away.
The time here represents total dedication to God, it indicates that you must not be busy to the extent of having no time for God. As we know, many who never attended the wedding feast, just gave one reason or the other. Most of us today have millions of excuses to give when it comes to the things of God,but will always pledge big commitments to those earthly desires and responsibilities without excuses.
The location of this wedding ceremony seemed to have taken place in a mountain-like venue, which involves rough roads, long distance and many other challenges.
The invitation itself is the word of God preached to the souls of men whom God has furnished with His grace and love, and yet carnal commitment made them to disregard obeying the word as a priority. If you hear his voice today, do not harden your heart, (Psalm 95:7-8).
This is a message of joy and hope to all who have suffered defeat and captivity. The best will be given to them all and the worst (tears and death) taken away from them. This mountain signifies the heavenly Jerusalem. The image of mountain here indicates that there must be a climbing. As I said earlier, to get to the top of this mountain, one must climb, and this climbing requires great strength because in climbing the mountain, hands and feet, and even the whole body is involved for the sake of safety.
Our heavenly race on this earth is like climbing a mountain. Many great successful images in the bible had something in common with the mountain. Noah’s Ark rested on the mountain, Moses received the Decalogue on the mountain, Elijah had great experience on the mountain, the transfiguration took place on the mountain, the crucifixion took place on the mountain,the ascension took place on the mountain, etc. But another question is this, who can climb this mountain of the Lord, Psalm 15:1-6 answers the question “O Lord, who may abide in your Tent? Who may dwell on your Holy Mountain? Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart……..”. To get to the mountain top for this heavenly feast is not easy at all, as you climb, one may at one time or the other experience tiredness, distraction, fear, temptation and discouragement. But St. Paul in the second reading of today assures us that we can do all things in him (Christ) who strengthens us. He who strengthens you will guide, lead and protect you. He who strengthens you also invites you to his feast of love in today’s gospel, in which the uniform of love and righteousness will be the colour and fashion for the feast. But a man was found who was not wearing his uniform, the uniform of love , repentance and righteousness. An opportunity came for him to make amends when asked his reason for not being on his wedding attire, but he kept calm and speechless. A sign of hard heartedness. Such people are those Christians who intermingle with other Christians, but can never show repentance in their heart. God sees all things.
Such people can never join in the heavenly joy, their abode shall be eternal damnation. Lord give us strength always and guide us to do your will.
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