Homily for Wednesday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: STAY FAITHFUL TO GOD COME WHAT MAY
By: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
Homily for Wednesday September 9 2020
READINGS: 1CORINTHIANS 7:25-31, PSALM 45, LUKE 6:20-26
Dear friends in Christ, the exhortation of St. Paul to the Corinthian community finds meaningful expression in our times today. “I think it is good in these hard times in which we live…for someone to remain as he is” (1Cor. 6:26). Paul wants us to be careful not to take decisions or make major changes in our lives whenever we are stressful or experiencing difficulties. These moments come with doubts, confusion, and emotional dysfunction, taking any major decision during these periods can be perilous.
Paul also calls us to be lovers of discipline, self-discipline. For him, any good means by which men and women tame themselves until they have every passion under perfect control is an excellent thing. Natural instincts, anger, sex, hunger, etc, cannot and should not be eliminated; remember Origen would have been a saint today had he not castrated himself in order to be free from sexual desires. Catholicism and indeed all of Christianity encourage chastity while being fully human. We are called by Paul to have a mastery of ourselves (our sexuality especially); married people are to remain faithful to themselves, virgins are to stay chaste always and celibates too ought not to soil themselves (1Cor. 7:25ff).
The world as we know it will end my brothers and sisters; life in Christ would not. Nothing therefore should form an encumbrance to our worship and dedication to Christ because in the end, when this transient world passes away with its glories and sorrows, only our union with Christ will count. This is exactly why Jesus Christ would in Luke 6:20-26 switch around the world’s values completely, rejecting the materialism of this world and approving the riches of heaven.
According to Adolf Deismann, a scholar, the words of our gospel today which correspond to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, are “spoken in an electric atmosphere. They are not quiet stars but flashes of lightning followed by a thunder of surprise and amazement”. This is so true because taking the accepted standards of the world, they turn them upside down. The ‘happy’ in Jesus’ opinion are the sad in the opinion of the world, while the wretched in Jesus’ view are those considered richly clad according to the world. We must be careful not to understand Jesus as saying we should go about hungry, naked and living in slums and being materially poor. Jesus wants us to acknowledge our utter helplessness before God, our spiritual need, and our total dependence on him. Beloved in Christ, the earlier we realized it is God over all, the better it will be for us.
We are confronted with an eternal choice, a lifelong choice which entails living in the world yet being apart from it by renouncing the cares, immediate pleasures and profit it offers in order to gain eternal happiness. The ultimate questions staring us in the face my dear friends in Christ are: ‘are we going to take the hard way which yields immediate toil and sufferings? Are we going to seize the pleasures of now and ruin our happiness tomorrow? Are we willing to look ahead and sacrifice the glories of today whilst enduring pains for the sake of the greater good? Are we ready to be poor, sorrowful, hungry, hated etc, for Christ’s sake and enjoy the rewards of God’s kingdom tomorrow?
For the Christian, the way of the world is not an option at all, for the end will definitely be cancerous. The way of Christ is the only way to ideal happiness and the key to possessing the kingdom of heaven. This way of Christ has as its accompaniments, pain, suffering, afflictions and the likes; the reward of following this way however, cancels all the afflictions borne hitherto. No wonder St. Paul in 2Corinthians 4:17 says, “This slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure”.
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