Homily for Thursday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: What shall people write or say about you when you are no more?
By: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
Homily for Thursday June 18 2020
READINGS: Sirach 48: 1-14, Ps. 97, Matthew 6: 7-15
For over a week now we have been reading about the Prophet Elijah and finished his story with his assumption into heaven and the takeover of the mantle by Prophet Elisha. It was not Elijah that wrote the story about his own self but those who knew about him and what he did, how he conducted himself, how God used him to work in the midst of the people of Israel. The stories told about him were eulogies and worthy of praise. The stories showed how great a prophet of God he was, how he cooperated with God and brought wonderful results worthy of praise and emulation. We live in this world to make our own history and give people who come across us to write our history when we must have gone or left the scene. Even though some of the stories people tell about us may be wrong perception and some motivated by jealousy and hatred yet the objective one is also there when many have to put down facts about us. Many of us live a life that is a legacy for generations to follow while some of us leave very ugly stories of ourselves that make the ear to tingle.
Beloved, the book of Sirach made a summation of the deeds and life of the Prophet Elijah and listening to them makes one feel he lived a fulfilled life and life of grace. No one comes to this world by himself or without a mission but by God and with a mission. God gives us the necessary aid by his grace to live up to expectation; the grace does not work in vacuo or by itself but through the cooperation of humans. This is why St Augustine said that: The God who created us without our cooperation cannot save us without our cooperation. It is good for each person to make good spiritual effort to know or discern what the will of God is for him or her and ask him for the grace to cooperate with him to realize that mission.
Beloved, we ask God everything in prayer as he has taught us. For the prayer to be effective and efficacious, it must follow some pattern that is godly and taught by Jesus. The world prays daily and shouts every moment, Churches spring us and prophets abound and heaven is disturbed every minute yet many of us do not receive anything we ask for in prayer. Jesus told his disciples that since he has been with them that they have not asked for anything and if they do, they did not ask well. It is not the gathering that makes the prayer and not the words spoken that make the prayer but it depends on what gathering, those who gathered and the intention for gathering. The words used and how they are used matter a lot. Many of the things we do in the name of prayer fall short of Christian prayer.
Beloved, Jesus decided to teach us how to pray, not just giving us a prayer to be reciting but the model and formula of prayer. He gave us what prayer should consist of. Every prayer must acknowledge the greatness of God and must ask of the reign of God in our lives and plans. We must not allow our life to be independent of God’s rule and that means we must pray to belong to those that are subject to God’s authority. In our prayer, we must beg God to help us keep his will as we live on earth so that even as we live on earth, we make our heaven here. In our prayer we must acknowledge that God’s providence keeps us alive and ask him to provide us our daily needs. In our prayer, we must know that we are all sinners who are by our life short of the glory of God and so ask him for forgiveness. This forgiveness we ask from God we must know depends on the condition that we forgive all those who offend us. If we refuse to do that, God himself would not forgive us ours and if that becomes the situation, nothing we ask of him would be granted.
We ask God to grant us a forgiving and merciful heart so that nothing can obstruct the flow of God’s grace in our lives and nothing can prevent God from hearing our prayers. The amount of verbosity we vomit as prayer like hypocrites do not help the matter in our prayer. Forgiveness and mercy should be part of necessary life history we must leave behind. We ask God to help us be known to be merciful so that mercy and forgiveness will be part of what people can say about us even when we are not there, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf