Homily for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: Human strength and power
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday October 20 2019
Human strength and power are intrinsically insufficient. Like the human person, human strength and power are weak and short-lived. They only achieve their proper end when assisted and corroborated by divine grace; otherwise they grow frustrated and only perambulate out of track, without success and in vain. “Our help is simply in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth” (Ps 120:2). May we never live outside the helping hand of God; Amen.
The shortest path to failure and regret is to totally depend on human strength and power. In as much as human strength and power are blessings and graces from God in their own rank, they are never meant to be absolutized. They are _ipso facto_ dependent upon God from Whom they originate and through Whom they are graced to achieve their proper goal. Over exaggeration of human strength and power, and total dependence on them have led a good number of persons to lose the taste and focus of life, and even to fall into thick depression and frustration to the point of taking their own lives. On the contrary, Moses and the people of Israel in the First Reading of today (Ex 17:8-13) understood the logic of human strength and power. “Moses said to Joshua, pick out men for yourself, and tomorrow morning march out to engage Amalek. I, meanwhile, will stand on the hilltop, the staff of God in my hand.” Moses and the Israelites were convinced at this point that whereas human strength and power may be necessary but dispensable, divine grace and power are both necessary and indispensable. Outside divine intervention, we are frustrated and void. This was very much manifested on how the power and grace of God at work in the weak but raised hands of Moses signified their progress in victory; for “as long as Moses kept his arms raised, Israel had the advantage; when he let his arms fall, the advantage went to Amalek.”
Being connected to divine power and grace involves a certain level of spiritual discipline. A spiritual discipline that entails persistence in prayer even in the weakest and darkest moments of our lives. When the arms of Moses grew weak, he didn’t give up. He was rather assisted by Aaron and Hur; reminding us also that we are to assist our brothers and sisters in their weak and dark moments because as a Family of God, their victory is also our victory. It is this same persistence in prayer that was taught us with the example of the widow in the Gospel Reading (Luke 18:1-8) who pestered the Judge until she got justice. When we are persistent in prayer, we recognise the limitation of human strength and power and our need of the assistance of divine power and grace. One sure thing is, “God will see justice done to them, and done speedily.” Also, being connected to divine power and grace requires a spiritual discipline that is inspired and informed by the history of God’s relationship with His people as is contained in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition of the Church because “all scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy.” (2 Tim 3:14-4:2). This spiritual discipline is the foundation for and backbone of any missionary activity. It leads us to realise that we are both personally and collectively involved in the mission of Christ and His Church. Truly, “I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptized man and woman is a mission” (cf. “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World”; Message of his holiness Francis for World Mission Day 2019). It is this spiritual discipline that distinguishes us in the world; that keeps us strong and fruitful in the missions; that leads us to victory in the daily war against the militants of the underworld; that keeps us holy and faithful to our baptismal promises; that brings closest to us and in us the ever powerful and indispensable assistance of divine power and grace.
May we be humble enough to recognise the limitations of our human strength and power as to benefit in full the presence of divine power and grace so as to be fruitful in our personal and collective share in the mission of Christ and His Church; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE