The Life of a Just person – Homily for the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
The Lord is Just in all his ways and loving in all his deeds is expressed by the psalmist in Psalms 145:17. This is one characteristic of God that we are called to emulate as his children. The lack of just people in society is the reason why we are suffering in our country, places of work, homes, etc. It is no surprise that we lack just people in society. This is because the just are tried by tribulations and this is what many people avoid in this world of relativism and individualism.
The second reading encourages us to abound in the works of the Lord knowing that in the Lord, labour is not in vain. This is exemplified in the lives of just people found in our sacred scripture. An example is Abraham who after all the promises from God of uncountable descendants, and after having a child in his old age, was asked to offer the child as a human sacrifice. For us in this modern day, ours may not be offering up a human sacrifice. It may be your only child deciding to become a priest or a reverend sister. Would we agree to this? For Abraham, he agreed and today he is called the father of faith.
Job is another example of a just man. He was upright, blameless, turned from evil and feared God even in the face of tragedy, misfortune, and sickness. His friends told him to curse God and die but he remained steadfast and was rewarded by God. This shows that if we remain just, God will not abandon us. After all, ‘…many are the trials of the just man but the Lord delivers him from them all’ (Psalms 34:19). God’s words are alive and active and not like men’s words that can fail.
Another example is St Theresa of Avila who prayed and worked for the reformation of the Carmelite Order. This was alongside other wonderful works. But she was inflicted with a sickness which she prayed to God for but no response. She said to God, ‘if this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have few of them.’ She remained upright and humourous through her tribulations and today she is referred to as a doctor of the church.
A final example is St Mother Theresa of Calcutta who years before her death suffered a dark night of the soul. She was faced with a constant spiritual struggle but remained joyful in her duties. We too must be ready to face such trials and tribulations rather than wish to be ‘glorious mysteries’ Christians. It is often through tribulations that we realise that we need God in our lives.
In the gospel reading, Christ tells us how to live just and sincere. He says our yes should be yes and our no should be no. To be just, we need to constantly have a self-evaluation and examination of ourselves at the end of each day. This would make us more knowledgeable about ourselves and help us to develop. After all, we cannot see the speck of dust in another’s eyes while not removing the log of wood in our eyes. We need to help ourselves and work on ourselves before working on others including spouse, children, colleagues, etc. After all, an unexamined life is not worth living.
Finally, we are called not just to be good but to do good. This is because it is by their fruits that you shall know them. So, what is the fruit of your goodness? We must purify our hearts for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Let us mean yes when we say so and mean no when we say so. Any other thing comes from the Devil. We continue to pray for God to strengthen us so that we can make our world a better place through Christ our Lord. Amen.