Homily for Thursday of 24th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: Gratitude to God’s unconditional love
By: Fr. Francis Onwunali
Homily for Thursday September 16 2021
MEMORIAL OF STS. CORNELIUS AND CYPRIAN
Today the Church commemorates two friends in the service of Christ and His Church, St. Cornelius, pope and martyr and St. Cyprian, bishop and martyr. Pope Cornelius (251- 253), a Roman, was the twenty-first Pope during the reign of the Emperor Gallud and Volusian. He opposed Novatian, the first anti-pope, who believed that apostates who repented could not be forgiven. Helped by St. Cyprian, Cornelius confirmed his papal authority. He was beheaded in exile at Civitavecchia, Italy in 253 AD. Sts. Cyprian and cornelius are mentioned in the Roman Canon (Eucharist Prayer I) of the Mass.
Extravagant love as a fruit of unbounding gratitude to God Who first loved us unconditionally is the central theme of today’s message. Having been greatly touched and transformed by God’s loving compassion, the woman regarded as a “public sinner” in today’s gospel (Luke 7: 36-50), could not hold back but display her loving response to God’s forgiveness. She became oblivious of all her constraints and reached out to wash the feet of Jesus with her tears and hair, and anointed his feet with costly oil. “I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love”.
In the first reading (1 Tm. 4: 12-16), St. Paul reminds Timothy that his call to lead the Ephesian community comes with blessings and responsibilities, hence, he should be an example of Christian virtue in his life and teachings. Paul urges him not to be a disgrace with what he has received in grace.
Dear friends, God’s blessings on us should not be seen as reward for our good deeds, rather, our good deeds should be a response to God’s blessings on us. How humble and grateful am I in acknowledging God’s goodness in my life? Let us not live all the time complaining and being negative.
I pray as we journey in life today, like the woman in the gospel, we will not hold back in responding gratefully to God for God’s goodness. May I, through my care and love for others, be an instrument for them to realize how immensely God loves them. “To whom much is given, much is expected” (Luke 12: 28). May we proclaim: “how great are the works of the Lord! His praise endures forever” (Ps. 111: 2, 10). Have a gratitude-full day!
Fr. Francis Onwunali