Homily for Wednesday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: Who is Calling Who?
By: Fr. Evaristus Abu
Homily for Wednesday October 2 2019
(Read Nehemiah 2:1-8, Psalm 137 and Luke 9:57-62)
“No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
In our Gospel passage this morning, we are presented with three different cases of vocation. First, a man came to Jesus himself to declare his intention to follow him. “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus sensed he had a materialistic conception of ministry. His desire to follow Jesus is no different from the aspiration to become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, a motivational speaker etc. Jesus wanted this man to realize ministry is not an occupation, it is not a salaried job but a vocation that requires detachment from material possessions. Jesus said to him: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” In other words, “If you want to follow me, you must take the vow of poverty!”
Then comes the second case. It was Jesus himself who called him saying: “Follow me.” Notice that virtually all the biblical characters who were called gave excuses. Gideon said he was too small, Moses said he stammered, Jeremiah said he was only a youth, Isaiah said he had unclean lips etc. This second man also had an excuse: “Let me go and bury my father first” but Jesus said: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Like Jonah, those who are genuinely called may try to run away from God, but God has a way of making them return. To the world, such persons may appear most unqualified for the ministry but God who sees beyond human understanding knows why he chooses.
The third case is a mixture of the above two. Here is a person who really wants to follow. He is the one calling God but, unlike the first case, God is also calling him. The characteristic of this group is they always have two minds! They really want to serve God but they desperately want all that this world has to offer. This third man said: “I will follow you Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at home.” Jesus warns him about his double-mindedness. “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
The funny thing is that regardless of which category, these three persons still make it into the priesthood and religious life. The first group see the ministry like any other career; as an opportunity for self-aggrandisement. The second group, despite the initial resistance never look back once they have said “Yes” to God. The third group are neither hot nor cold, their loyalty is divided, they want to eat their cake and have it. The question now is: “Are you the one calling God or is God really calling you?”
Our first reading presents us with the story of Nehemiah; the cupbearer to the king Artaxerxes. Here is a classic example of a powerful Government official who was deeply religious and passionate about the Israelite Nation. Despite his closeness to the seat of power, Nehemiah was such a prayerful man; so much so that on this day, the king took notice of his countenance and that became a golden opportunity for him to request for the rebuilding of the Temple that had been destroyed during the exile.
One lesson we learn from this is that being a Government official is a special vocation of its own just like that call to the religious life wherein money should never be the primary focus but service to humanity. Are you in Government? Then use your time there as an opportunity to promote your Christian Faith. If Christianity dies in this country, it wouldn’t be because of the so-called Islamization agenda, it would be because Christians in power failed woefully to carry out their own Christianization agenda.
Never be ashamed to promote your faith. Remember what Jesus said to us: “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33).
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my commitment to you. Amen.
Angel of God, my guardian angel, to whom God commits me here, ever this day(night), be at my side to guide and guard me. Amen. Holy Guardian Angels, pray for us. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time. The Guardian Angels. Bible Study: Nehemiah 2:1-8, Psalm 137 and Luke 9:57-62).