Homily for Thursday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: With unveiled faces we behold the glory of God.
By: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
Homily for Thursday, June 13 2019
READINGS: 2 Corinthians 3:15-4:1.3-6, Ps. 85, Matthew 5: 20-26
THEME: With unveiled faces we behold the glory of God.
The Old Testament makes us understand that Moses was a righteous man and God’s chosen prophet. God loved him and worked with him closely; giving him instructions on what to do at each challenging time. This God of Moses made a covenant with the people of Israel. The mountain is known to be the meeting and dwelling place of God and so, it was there that Moses goes for encounter/dialogue with the Lord. Because Moses was a virtuous man, God allowed him to see him face to face (whatever that means and in whatever form). His eyes were sanctified to see God and when he comes back, the influence and touch of the shekinah glory (radiant glory that emits from God) followed him home and shown on his face. Moses may not know what his face looked like but was always aware that no one who goes to God returns without transformation. His return and scheduled meeting with the people of Israel to relate the commands of the Lord to them created a stage each time. Each time he comes to meet the people; they could not look straight to the face of Moses which was brilliant and shining like the fuller’s alkaline or the wielder’s fire. The people pleaded with Moses to veil his face each time he returns from God to address them. Moses obliged on each return and assembly of Israel.
Beloved, great lessons could be learnt from this. It was the righteousness of Moses that qualified him to withstand that radiant glory of God unharmed and unafraid. His obedient response to God and being in his presence infected him with that radiation.
This lasted as often as he did his ministry with them and so he covers his face. The observation and big question is why does that glorious face of Moses disappear after sometime as he stays in the midst of the people? Could it be that the statement of Thomas A Kempis is true that the more you go out the less a man you become? Is it that he gets infected with the sinful and disobedient lives of the people? It is possible because they often anger him and he reacts excessively against them. Being conceived from his mother’s womb in sin and like David said in the psalm, he relapsed into inhuman imperfection while like Isaiah is living in the midst of sinners and people of unclean lips. The same is true that we lose the spiritual radiance we have each time we relapse into sin. The eye has a spirit and it is the spiritual eye that sees God. Sin affects our spiritual being and blindfolds our spiritual eye making us to be veiled.
This is seen in the veil that covered the eyes of Saul as he went killing Christians and then when it fell off like scales, he saw clearly and appreciated his divine mission. We must strive to retain the initial innocence of our spiritual eye from new birth in baptism and so remain unveiled by sin. To those who are perishing, they are veiled and see nothing and hear nothing as well. St Paul said that in their case the god of this world has blinded them to keep them from seeing the likeness of God. This is what happens to notorious and habitual sinners.
Beloved, it is on account of this that Jesus advises us in the gospel today that unless our righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, that we will never enter the kingdom of God. It means when we remain at their level, we become veiled like them. The Scribes and Pharisees of our time are the unbelievers and evil-doers, the less and unserious Christians of our time. They are those who are careless over moral and spiritual uprightness and who live recklessly.
They are the people Jesus described as of this world while the Christians are in the world but not of this world. In today’s gospel he enumerated some attitudes that would make us be like the Scribes and Pharisees and it is left for us to apply wisdom and allow the Holy Spirit to renew us. We pray that the Lord’s glory would dwell in each of us and so dwell abundantly on our lands so that his mercy and faithfulness shall embrace and justice be looked down on the world, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf