Homily for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Theme: THE SHARP WORD
By: Rev. Fr. Leonard Okoli
Homily for Sunday October 10 2021
First reading: Wis. 7:7-11
Second reading: Heb. 4:12-13
Gospel: Mark 10:17-30
1. Let us begin our reflection from the second reading because it provides something important for our souls. It describes the Word of God as “something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely”. It can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. The Word of God gives life because it is alive. It judges the secret intentions of our hearts because it is Truth. This means that a sincere conversation with God in his Word; a sincere interaction with the Word of God brings out the truth about our lives; it transforms and coverts us. This happened to the Ethiopian Eunuch who was baptised by Philip (Acts 8:26-40). If we truly encounter Jesus, nothing else will be hidden about us because everything will be laid bare. Every encounter with God’s Word exposes the dark areas of our lives and through it, we come to a better realisation of what is important in our lives. This is what happenned to the rich young man in the gospel passage. He has been reading the Torah and listening to God’s commandments. He has been keeping the laws faithfully but not fully. However, the moment he encountered Jesus the Word of God, the truth about his life was revealed; the secret intentions of his hearts were laid bare and his priorities were made known.
2. Dear friends, we may delude ourselves to believe that we are good people, that we are faithful Christians and on the right track to eternal life. We may think that we are ready for God’s kingdom. Wait, have we encountered God’s Word in Christ Jesus? Have we reflected on God’s Word and allowed it penetrate our hearts and reveal our intentions? How often do we read God’s Word and medidate on it? For some, hearing it on Sunday in Church is enough. In fact, some even come late to Church, some are distracted while the scripture readings are read, some are absent-minded while the priest preaches during homily. Sometimes, we deceive ourselves and deny the truth of the Word of God.
3. Shocking? Perhaps! One important truth that God’s Word reveals to us is the shortness of our lives. Once we forget this truth, we will not live our Christian lives to the fullest. The psalmist spells it out in the response of today’s Psalm: “Lord make us know the shortness of our lives that we may gain wisdom of heart” (Psalm 89:12). Once we realise how short and how quickly our mortal lives could end, we gain insight into how to live. We set our priorities right and learn to value the things that matter. Then, we will learn that it is about the quality of our lives, not the quantity in our lives. The quality of life comes from knowing its stability. The quality of our lives will improve the moment we realise how fragile we are as mere mortals. Then, we would spend less time on ourselves and more others, less in acquiring and more in giving; less in fighting and more in peace; less in greed and more in contentment; less in pride and more in humility. Jesus taught the man that keeping the laws without charity to others is useless. Our keeping of God’s commandments must be accompanied by practical love for the poor.
4. Let us note something about Jesus. At that point when the young man encountered Jesus, Jesus needed people to follow him, but He did not lower the standards. Instead, He insisted on them. Jesus insisted on the truth. According to the law of supply and demand, we often lower our standards and make compromises in order to gain more followers. Jesus did not follow this law because his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). We too must not lower our standards to get validation from people. We must insist on doing what is right; we must insist on following Christ no matter the challenges. We live in a world where compromising the truth is seen as diplomacy; where lowering moral standards is seen as tolerance; etc. We must remember that for God, it is the best or nothing. For us leaders and men of God, sometimes we are tempted to mince words, to be economical with the truth so as not to offend people, so as to become the “man of the people”. We may think that lowering the standards of the gospel would gain us more followers. Yes, it can gain us more followers, but not followers that will reach heaven because narrow is the way to heaven (Matt. 7:14).
Finally, let us encounter God more in his Word and experience His transformation. By our human strength, it is impossible but with God, all things are possible.
Oh that today you listen to his voice, harden not your hearts.
Rev. Fr. Leonard Okoli
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