Homily for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: The true love and Counterfeit
By: Fr Emmanuel Uchechukwu Muodebelu C.S.Sp
(Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19; 1 Corinthians 12:12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30).
There are situations in the family where the parents find it difficult to correct their loved kids because they do not want them to cry. This happens especially among the mothers. Sometimes, their little kids joke with dangerous objects like knife or sticks but, they will not take it away from them because, they do not want them to cry. Most of such kids end up to wound or disfigure themselves.
On another note, the parents also try not to correct their adolescent children and the young ones because they do not want them hurted. They want to show them love by not correcting them and allowing them do whatever they want. This happens more where there is no love between a husband and his wife.
Each person tries to show artificial love in order to win the children’s favour. This is called counterfeit or selfish love. Children who grew up this way, end up as nuisance in the family and the society at large.
Furthermore, the self acclaimed christians have abandoned their prophetic duty and indulge in other gifts of life. This is because we usually experience internal struggle between being loved by people and bearing witness to the truth. Those christians who practice real love by bearing witness to the truth irrespective of the cost, suffer hatred, rejection and martyrdom.
The self-proclaimed christians who have selfish interest denounce God to pursue cheap popularity, fame, power and wealth. They compromise truth with cheap popularity .They do not want to risk rejection from people because most times those who stand on the truth stand alone. They therefore focus on the other gifts and frivolous things of life to distract people’s attention from the ultimate goal in life, which is bearing witness to the truth. They find it difficult to condemn and tell people the consequences of evil; and admonish them to from doing it. They prefer praising them and promoting evil in order to be liked and not crucified.
This act comes from selfishness. It is called counterfeit love. Paul said, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but the spirit of power and love and self-control. So you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to our Lord, or ashamed of me for being his prisoner; but share in my hardships for the sake of the gospel relying on the power of God”(2 Timothy 17-8).
The major challenges most prophets suffer are problems of age ( I am a child), Background ( The son of a carpenter), which can result into tribe, race, economic statutes. All these can result into fear, inferiority complex and rejection by people. Jeremiah and Jesus suffered rejection and risked death as a result their condemning evil. Jesus made it clear that “a prophet is not acceptable in his own country. (Luke 4:24; Mark 6:4). John 1:11 says, he came to his own and his own people did not accept him.”
This is the Jesus we follow as disciples. If he was rejected by his people, what about us? Jesus said, “if the world hates you, you must realise that it hated me before it hated you (John 15:18). Therefore let us not bear in mind that people will like us and clap for us for being authentic christians who bear witness to the truth. A call to Christianity is a call to the cross. It is a call to martyrdom. It is a call to criticism and rejection. But in all these, “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” ( Romans 8:1). Psalm 94:14 said, “for the Lord will not reject His people, he will never forsake His inheritance.”
The real love is the higher gift that Paul told us about in the first reading. If we speak in tongues, have prophetic power, understand all mysteries and knowledge; if I have faith that can move mountains and give away all I have but have no love then, all is emptiness and nothing.
The real love is patient and kind. It is not selfish. It bears all things. It is patient. This is the love of God that ignites our hearts to bear witness to the truth no matter the consequences.
Brethren, our Christian vocation is a call to martyrdom. It is a call to bear witness to Jesus Christ (the truth). Jesus told us that ” you will be universally hated on account of my name; but anyone who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22). Jeremiah suffered persecution but he stood his ground to represent God. Jesus also stood His ground.
Our world today prefers and celebrates lies rather than the truth. As a result of this, families are in shamble, societies are getting decayed. We all suffer in silence but refused to stand up as Christians because we do not want to be hated. God told Jeremiah, “do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.” We have been dismayed by God because we allowed ourselves to be dismayed by evil.
We have billions of Christians all over the world, and yet evil seems to thrive. This is because we lack a total commitment to our vocation. The question today is, do I stand for God in the face of evil in my family, my church, my work place and my society? Am I ready to stand with God and risk condemnation and rejection even from my loved ones?
Or do I always prefer to be on the side of the crowd so that I will be loved by people? Our vocation is not just to know the truth but to always speak the truth despite the consequences.
The bible says that the truth shall set us free. Let us follow and represent our master Jesus. Either Jesus or nothing. Jesus is our all.
Fr Emmanuel Uchechukwu Muodebelu C.S.Sp