Homily for Thursday of the 14th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: What is your present relationship with God like?
By: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
Homily for Thursday July 9 2020
READING: Hosea 11: 1-4. 8-9, Ps. 80, Matthew 10: 7-15
Generally God has a way he sees the world and relates with it but still relates with individuals in some peculiar manner. The grace of God has been given to the entire people he created and love is bestowed on the world yet, the race to heaven is still made on individual effort and acts of faith as depicted in the life each person lives. No one can be saved or judged by the group or general faith and action. The cooperation of each person with God determines what the person gets at last and so it is important to maintain a personal relationship with God.
Beloved, in the first reading the prophetic utterance of Hosea on Israel makes one to ask: What is your personal or my personal relationship with God? God spoke through the Prophet Ezekiel chapter 18 on individual responsibility when he said: When a righteous person leaves his righteousness and begins to sin, he will die and his good deeds of the past shall be forgotten and also when a sinner repents and begins to live a righteous life, he shall not die but shall live. Israel objected to this saying that God is unjust. They wanted to be judged by their past life in negligence of their present life. The justice of God makes him to judge people by their present life behaviour since a sinner who has repented should not in justice and mercy be condemned for the life of sin when he was ignorant or blindfolded by sin; if not what is the need to preach for people to be converted and to repent? In the first reading, God is speaking with a regretful heart concerning Israel. Israel was in her early youthful days obedient with the commands of the Lord but later took God for granted and became too familiar with him such that they think that his covenant of love does not demand any responsibility on their part and as if the presence of the Ark of Covenant in their temple was a surety that they are saved forever despite what life they lead. God made several attempts through prophets and seers to bring them back and they went farther instead. Their heart was bent on worshiping a foreign god despite how God lavished love on them. God complained that he was the one who taught them how to walk and now they run away from him. God took them up in his arms for safety now they feel free; they go against the one who saved them. He led them with cords of compassion and love and fed them with all their needs to satisfaction. Today in their relationship with God, his heart recoils in cold feeling because of their present bad relationship with him. He feels bitter yet his love restricts him from destroying them. His love surpasses our sins and cannot drag him to wicked treatment. He is still patient and lavishing his grace upon us with hope that we shall return back to him. Stop and ask yourself: Were you better in the face of God before than now? In your former ways of life, were you more righteous than now? If so, what is happening to you now?
To the disciples in the gospel narrative today, Jesus still finds in them faithful friends and trusted to be sent in his name. To those he trusts and is comfortable with, he bestows with extra-ordinary powers and blessings to do extra-ordinary things. He makes them healers, able to raise the dead, purifiers of lepers powerful to cast demons out. He makes them rely on his providence and he provides for them. They have the privilege to announce the second coming of Christ. They should tell people that the kingdom of God is close at hand and help them to repent and amend their present relationship with God for their own good and salvation. Lovers of God are agents of peace and they spread it wherever they go. But those who have a bad relationship with him reject the message of the prophets and then invite the condemnation, judgment and anger of God upon themselves. For those who maintain a bad relationship with God, it shall be worse to them than the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Lord, help me with your grace and let the light of your face shine upon me and I will be saved. Aid me with your grace to return back to you and never slack back as you go in search of my soul daily by the outpouring of your grace and love. Lord, let my present relationship with you be pleasing in your sight. God of host turn again we implore, look down from heaven and see. Visit this vine your right hand has planted and protect it from the snare of the devil, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf