Homily for Wednesday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: GOD IS WITH US AND IN CONTROL NO MATTER IF WE ARE IN AUTHORITY OR IN DESPERATE CIRCUMSTANCES
By: Rev Fr Utazi Prince Marie Benignus
MEMORIAL OF SAINT LEO THE GREAT, POPE, DOCTOR
Wisdom 6: 1-11; Psalm 82: 3-4, 6-7; Luke 17: 11-19
I pray for you: May you continue to respond to Gods sovereignty over you and give thanks for all that the Lord Jesus continues to do in your life. AMEN
We are people who have very narrow vision. Most of the time, we only see what we want to see and we see it from only our perspective. It is only when we are willing to try to view our life and our situation from another point (other peoples and Gods point of view), that we begin to have the insights into what is really happening in our lives. This then leads us to being more concerned for others, especially those whom we are called to serve, and also to lift up a prayer of thanks to the Lord Jesus for all that God is doing in our lives. It is so easy to let life get out of the proper perspective.
The First Reading today is from the book of Wisdom. It is addressed to rulers and judges of the world. Those who have been given authority must exercise it in a way which shows they are concerned for those who are under their care. It is a warning to those in authority that they must realize that they will be held accountable to God for how they used the power that they are given. God will be more lenient when it comes to pardoning the sinfulness of the lowly than in pardoning those who have seized their power for their own sake rather than for the good of those whom they are called to serve.
The Responsorial Psalm is addressed to the princes of the people, reminding them that they are not children of God more than the poor and lowly. The psalmist continues this admonition to those who are leaders. The princes or tribal lords are challenged to act with justice and fairness, for God is aware of the needs of the lowly and will be upset if those in control do not meet those needs. The psalmist reminds the princes that they, too, are also children of God and are not more important than those whom they lead.
In the Gospel, after Jesus has healed ten lepers, only one came back to express thanks to God, and that one was the foreigner among them. As Jesus continues His journey in the Gospel, ten lepers call out to Him and ask for His assistance. Knowing that they were not allowed to be where the clean or healthy people were, they keep their distance and hope that Jesus will do something to remedy their plight. Compassionately, Jesus knows their desire and tells them to go to the priests who can declare a leper clean and able to rejoin the people. Only one of the healed lepers returns to Jesus to say thank you. And this one was a Samaritan, a non-Jew, in fact, one considered worse than a heathen.
Dear Sisters and Brothers, in some ways we can probably identify with the characters in todays readings. Many of us have been placed in positions of authority, whether that it is in our families or at our work. It is human nature to attribute our being in leadership to our own abilities and talents, and to be tempted to use the authority we have for our own benefit and advancement. The warning spoken centuries ago applies to us just as much at it did in the time it was given. We will be held accountable for the way we use the positions we have been given. In fact, we who are in places of authority will be required to explain how we treat those under us more than those under us will be expected to give an accounting of how they responded to those in power. Perhaps, some of us can more easily identify with the lepers, not because of any disease we have, but because we feel burdened by physical, emotional, financial, or intellectual situations we are in. We, like the lepers, call out for Jesus help. We want Jesus to perform some miracle to remove the conditions which restrict our feeling a part of the society from which we have been ostracized.
Today, I am challenged to take the situation in which I find myself and use the situation in a way which shows that I realize that God loves me and expects me to do the right thing. I am also challenged to be grateful for what God has done for me, whether it is Gods placing me in a position of leadership or touching my life with the divine healing presence. Both aspects of the challenge deal with the realization of my relationship with God. God is with me and He is in control no matter if I am in authority or in desperate circumstances. God is willing to bring healing, wholeness and salvation to me; if I acknowledge the divine sovereignty over me. I must not just turn to God when I am in need. I must turn to God in thanksgiving at all times, for God is the ultimate authority in my life and God desires the best for me and those around me.
*MEDITATION* Am I always conscious of Gods presence in my life? Do I realize that any authority or position I have is because God has graced me and will expect me to deal compassionately with those who are placed in my care? Am I able to not only cry out to God for help, but also express my thanksgiving to God for acting powerfully in my life? For what blessings can I give thanks to God today? How can I help others to realize the presence of God in their lives?
*PRAYER* Lord God, through the continued outpouring of Your Holy Spirit, helps us look to Jesus, Your Son, and our Brother, as the example of leadership and the One to Whom we express our thanks as He touches our lives with compassion and love. Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
*O DIVINE WORD, WHO TOOK FLESH FOR HUMAN SAKE, REDEEM US IN OUR SITUATION*
© Rev Fr Utazi Prince Marie Benignus