HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A.
THEME: THE WISDOM OF THE CROSS
BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13
The consoling teaching of the Beatitudes in today’s gospel is a revelation of the integrity and humility that is informed by the wisdom of the cross of Christ. The wisdom of the cross of Jesus Christ is the foolishness by human reckoning that will remain a stumbling block for the ignorant.
The first reading of today reminds us of the need to cultivate integrity and humility. But these virtues cannot exist amidst a society that is viced by pride, arrogance, selfishness and oppression of the weak and the innocent. Likewise in the second reading, St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that the cross of Jesus Christ has become our wisdom, our virtue, our holiness, our freedom and our blessedness.
A Beatitude basically is God’s blessing on something. So he will say, “Blessed are…”, “Blessed are the poor, etc It means congratulations, in a way. That means to be very fortunate. And that’s as good a translation of the Hebrew and the Greek as we have: “How fortunate you all are to know, to love and to be chosen by God.” When Jesus tells us the Beatitudes, he is not setting out any rules, regulations or codes of conduct. He’s telling us what we really are. This is what we already are; “blessed” and not the way we should become. Looking carefully at the Beatitudes, Jesus was not manufacturing sufferings and pains, only to accompany them with blessings! He was rather asserting God’s presence in the life of those suffering. Sitting on the high mountain with a full view of the crowds shows God’s full view of everyone. Then Jesus says “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God”. Putting it in the present shows that the kingdom of God was already being made manifest. Jesus himself brings the kingdom to the poor! Where the kingdom of God is mentioned, Jesus uses the present.
Poor in Spirit refers to those who recognize and understand their vulnerabilities and limitations and turn to God for help and strength. These are the ones most acceptable to the Lord, because they are spiritually available to God. We, the Christian community of today, are both chosen and preferred by the Lord also, to the extent we are open and available to hear the word of God.
Only the eyes of faith can behold on the cross, Jesus Christ crucified; the very foundation of the Pauline theology. (1 Corinthians 1:23). The whole of the beatitudes, though prior to the cross, envisage it. Jesus’ decision to preach the coming of the Kingdom of God, is a pre-empting of the life of the resurrection informed by the wisdom of the cross. To be gentle, merciful, poor in spirit, meek, compassionate, and suffer persecution, is always motivated by the wisdom of the cross. The life of the cross is what we see in the life of Jesus Christ. A life that is opposed to pride, arrogance, selfishness and oppression of the weak and the innocent; a life that forgives wrongs and love unconditionally.
Our vocation as Christians is not to be first in this world, but rather to be first in the eyes of God. By referring to the good things that the faithful will experience, Matthew reminds us that those who would act in the manner described in the Beatitudes already have their reward with God.
FOR MORE HOMILIES CLICK >>>>