Homily for Wednesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: The Call to Ministry and Its Implications
By: Fr. Evaristus Abu
Homily for Wednesday September 25 2019
(Read Ezra 9:5-9, Psalm (Tobit 13) and Luke 9:1-6)
“Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics” (Luke 9:3).
Going through our readings today, there is one word that seems to connect both: ministry. While our first reading presents us with the exercise of the ministry by Ezra the priest, our Gospel passage presents us the commissioning of the twelve to the ministry by Jesus Christ. To some extent, we see in these readings two major dimensions of ministry; the contemplative (or religious, as represented by Ezra praying for the people with his garments torn) and the secular (or active; as represented by the twelve going out to win souls for God).
There are two ways to serve in the vineyard of God; one by the commitment to a life of prayer (as we see practised by the secluded religious, some of whom never leave the monastery or convent) and two; by actively going out to engage the people (as we see in priests and religious involved in various aspects of parish duties, technology and media, school/medical apostolate, care-giving, religious entertainment and so on). The truth is that neither is superior to the other as both are needed for the continual spread of the Gospel to all nations.
In our Gospel passage, Jesus clearly spelt out the implications of the ministry to the twelve and this includes: a recognition of power and authority over all demons, the ability to cure diseases (the gift of healing), continuous preaching of the word of God, the spirit of poverty (taking nothing for the journey, not even a spare tunic), and above all staying with the people.
Without these core values, the work of ministry fails to serve its true purpose. For instance, without a sense of poverty (taking nothing for the journey), ministry becomes merely an occupation rather than a vocation. A few days ago, we read from St. Paul’s letter to Timothy where he warned the young Bishop against making money a god. St. Peter would clarify further saying: “Tend the flock of God that is in your charge … not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it– not for sordid gain but eagerly” (1 Peter 5:2).
One lesson we learn from our readings today is the need for constant prayer, especially for our nation. Just as Ezra tore his clothes (a sign of mourning/repentance) and prayed fervently to God on behalf of the nation, we are called to do the same. Nevertheless, as the prophet Joel would clarify, it is more important that we rend our hearts (repent) than our garments. “Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful” (Joel 2:13). As we pray for our nation, let us increase our prayer for our leaders as well as our religious ministers. Prayer is the key.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, transform my prayer life for good, Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Ezra 9:5-9, Psalm (Tobit 13) and Luke 9:1-6)