HOMILY FOR THE 29TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C.
THEME: The reality of Mediation and Intercession.
BY: Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE.
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY OCTOBER 16 2022.
The modern understanding of freedom and autonomy; and the always wild-spreading vague concept of independence often tend to empty the reality of Prayer, Mediation and Intercession of their respective meanings and significance in the Christian understanding. The truth remains we are always in need of help; help from God; help from ourselves and help from our brothers and sisters. These interrelated catalogues of dependence and mutual need of help realise their purpose when they become stepping stones to our realisation of the respective purposes for which God created us. May our trust in God and in the means He makes available to us never be in vain; Amen.
The Parable Jesus told in the Gospel Reading of today (Luke 18:1-8) enlightens us on the reality and need for Prayer, Mediation and Intercession in our respective social and ecclesial communities. In the widow we see ourselves in our respective predicaments. At the same time, we discover the power of prayer, mediation and intercession especially through the attitude of the Widow who was persistent in her request and through the words of the Lawyer; “maybe I have neither fear of God nor respect for man, but since she keeps pestering me I must give this widow her just rights, or she will persist in coming and worry me to death.” The widow’s need was a mediator or an intercessor in legal terms that could help her get justice. Her attitude was that of humble but persistent prayer and request; recognising her helpless state and acknowledging the fact that someone can be of help. Jesus understands this message because Himself is the archetypal Mediator and Intercessor. Himself is the Master of prayers. Every form of Prayer, Mediation and Intercession finds their fulfilment and deepest realisation in the person, life, ministry and Mysteries of Christ. He is the “Mediator Dei et hominum” (Mediator between God and men) [1 Tim. 2:5]. Every other forms of mediatory or intercessory roles must lead to Him in order to be effective. Prayers are to be made in his name in order to be efficacious (Jn 14:13). Mediation and Intercession are forms of help that are necessary and indispensable for human living and progress. They can be exercised before God and as well before fellow human beings. Being effective in both directions makes a Christian most similar to Christ. This was also the case with Moses in the First Reading of today (Exodus 17:8-13). Here, we read about one of the decisive moments of Moses’ ministry as a mediator between God and the people of Israel and as an intercessor in their favour before God; “as long as Moses kept his arms raised, Israel had the advantage; when he let his arms fall, the advantage went to Amalek.” In this position, Moses was not just praying, He was also mediating and interceding for the good of his people before God.
The message of today is first and foremost to realise, understand and appreciate the reality of Mediation and Intercession in the life of a Christian and in our relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters. This realisation has a way of nourishing one’s spiritual life and prayer life. As human beings, we are finite, we are limited, and we cannot do it all. We are in need of help. Secondly, we are reminded that it is part of our vocation as Christians to become little mediators and Intercessors in Christ. This also cannot be done very well without prayers. Our Vocation is not to complicate the lives of others, but to help in alleviating their pain and suffering through our little prayerfully mediatory and intercessory roles. Beyond praying for, mediating and interceding for people’s material and physical needs, as the case may, teaching people the right path can also be a form of mediation in practical terms that leads out of ignorance and ignoble style of life to the knowledge of God and nobility of life. In fact, the Missionary Identity of the Church and of all Christians is a vocation to mediation in this regard. The content of this form of Mediation is transmission of the knowledge of God and guiding people in building a better and more stable form of relationship with God and with their brothers and sisters. Hence, we become mediums of a gracious encounter between God and those around us. The Second Reading (2 Timothy 3:14-4:22) is part of Saint Paul’s admonitions to one of his best know companions Timothy, on how to lead people into true knowledge with patience; “I put this duty to you, in the name of His Appearing and of His kingdom: proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience; but do all with patience and with the intention of teaching.” One thing that is common of these forms of mediatory and intercessory roles is the fact that a mediator or intercessor in this context must be in contact and Communion with God. Prayer is the livewire of such contact and communion. The capacity to fruitfully and successfully mediate or intercede for others does not come from a vacuum. It comes from a healthy relationship with God and with others. This we see in Moses and in Timothy. Even though the Lawyer of the Gospel Reading was presented from a pagan or atheistic or even a secularistic perspective (he had neither fear of God nor respect for man); the context of his mediatory role for the widow in question shows that he was in contact with the Legal System and the necessary legal structures that can help one get justice faster. To be a mediator or an intercessor is to be person of contacts (divine and human) and to be a person in communion (with God and with fellow human beings). The Christian Faith and our Christian identity naturally make us people of contacts and participants in the Communion that has its roots in God. As Christians, we are mini-mediators in Christ; we are intercessors in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit; and together with Christ and the Holy Spirit we pray Abba-Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, You are the ultimate Road to the warehouse of all treasures. May our faith in You, our contact with You, our trafficking with You and our communion in You make us mediums and channels of Your blessings and favours to others especially in the most challenging moments of their lives; Amen. Happy Sunday;