HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I
THEME: EMULATE JESUS CHRIST IN OBEYING THE LORD GOD
BY: Rev Fr Utazi Prince Marie Benignus Zereuwa
MEMORIAL OF SAINTS JOHN OF BRÉBEUF AND ISAAC JOGUES, PRIESTS, AND THEIR COMPANIONS, MARTYRS
Romans 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21; Psalm 40: 7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17; Luke 12: 35-38
I pray for you: May you continue to be aware of what the obedience of Jesus has gained for you and may you respond by seeking to be faithful to the will of God for you. AMEN
Have you ever tried to pay back someone for their kindness to you? I remembered vividly many, including myself, who have done so. Some parents still do it for their children. They did not want their children to give them any gifts to express their gratitude, although their children did find occasions when they could give them gifts. The parents were more appreciative of their children wanting to express their thanks to them (the parents) by the way they (the children) lived their lives. This is because the parents saw that what they had given their children, especially the example of living a loving, caring life for others, was being practiced and used in their childrens daily life. This gives them the most joy.
Our God is also more pleased with our living lives which reflect our appreciation of all that we have received from God, especially all the graces and gifts that have come through the life, ministry, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus. When we live in a way that we are aware of Gods blessings, then we give God some of what is due for all the divine action in our lives.
In the First Reading, St. Paul shows the difference between the disobedience of Adam and the obedience of Jesus. He describes how humanity was negatively affected by the sin of disobedience of Adam. However, he goes on to say, that the obedience of Jesus far surpasses the disobedience of Adam. If the text or passage is to be read in Greek, one of the major words is polloi. This word, πολλοὶ – polloi, is translated as “many” in some English translations. In the “many” translations it almost sounds like not every one died because of the disobedience of Adam, and not everyone is saved by the obedience of Jesus. Many seems to imply most, but not all. The Greek word polloi can be translated as the multitude which would mean everyone. Thus, through the disobedient actions of Adam, death and sin entered the world for all humans. More importantly, however, through the obedient life and actions of Jesus, salvation was granted to all. The human disobedience is overshadowed by the divine-human obedience of the Son of God Jesus. All people have the opportunity to receive the abundant graces which Jesus obtained by His submission to the will of His Father even, and especially, by His suffering and death, and His resurrection.
The psalm praises obedience as being far superior to ritual sacrifices. The psalmist reminds us that God desires our obedience to the divine will more than ritual ceremonies and sacrifices. It is not that rites and sacrificial offerings have no importance. They do, as long as it is done with the intention of being part of doing the will of God. But if all we are doing is performing actions with no desire to be obedient to the plan of God, then it is all just superstitious and/or hypocritical activity.
In the Gospel, Jesus urges His disciples to be obedient and vigilant as they await the fulfillment of the God kingdom. Jesus presents an imagery to His disciples. Just as the faithful, obedient, and vigilant servants are ready for their masters return whenever the master arrives, so His disciples must be ever ready to do Gods will and wait for the second coming of the Lord Jesus.
Dear Sisters and Brothers, Jesus gives to us a perfect example of how to be obedient to the will of God. Jesus not only tells His followers (including us) that obedience is important, He also demonstrates what obedience means. In His whole life, ministry, and especially in His passion and death, Jesus always seeks to do what His Father wishes. As He prepares to undergo His passion, He prays to His Father saying, Father, if it is possible that I do not have to drink of this cup. . .But, not My will, but Yours be done (Luke 22: 42). It is because Jesus is prepared for whatever His Father asks of Him, He could pray this prayer of total obedience. He manifests His complete unity with will of His Father. He also gives us the example which we should follow. It is because of His perfect obedience that He is able to undo not only the disobedience of Adam, but of every other human who has ever lived, is living, or who will ever live. We are made right with God because of Jesus obedience.
Here it now: our obedience does not earn us justification, since our disobedience break our relationship with God. It is only Jesus perfect obedience that makes it possible for us to be in relationship with God. And our response to what Jesus has done should be our seeking to be obedient to God. When we understand our obedience to God as a sign of our gratitude for what the obedience of Jesus has done for us, it is then that we show our joyful appreciation to the Lord Jesus and His Father.
*MEDITATION* What does it mean to me to be obedient to God? Do I see obedience as the means of receiving Gods graciousness or as the response to already receiving Gods graciousness. In what area of my life do I find obedience the most difficult? How can my interaction with others manifest my obedience to Gods will? Is there anything I can do to help others be more obedient to the will of the Lord Jesus as a sign of their acceptance of Gods gracious righteousness and salvation?
*PRAYER* Lord God, as we continue our journey to You, fill us with the graces which flow from Your Holy Spirit. Give us wisdom, courage, and strength to respond to Your kindness by seeking to do Your will in our lives. Inspire us to offer to You our sacrifice of obedient service and love. Through Christ our lord. Amen.
*O DIVINE WORD YOU TOOK FLESH FOR HUMAN SAKE, REDEEM US IN OUR SITUATIONS*
© Rev Fr Utazi Prince Marie Benignus Zereuwa