Living the Life of God in Charity – Homily by Revd. Valentine Ibe Nzekah
Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time year A.
2kings 4:8-11. 14-16a
Psalm 89:2-3. 16-17. 18-19 (R. Cf. 2a.)
Romans 6:3-4. 8-11
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is the thirteenth Sunday in ordinary time, the theme today’s readings centres on Giving and receiving.
Let me just say it here that the Christian life is generally centred around charity. The mission of the Son was born of charity, the creation of the world was a fruit of charity. In the second reading, we hear St Paul’s teaching on baptism, he makes it clear that our new life in Christ is a participation in the fruit of a sacrifice freely offered by Christ. The greatest Charity in history, therefore, is the offering of self by Christ. Indeed, what greater love can a man have, than that he should lay down his life for his friends (Jn. 15:13). Dear friends, this is the same life to which we are called. St. Paul tells us that all of us baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death and if we die with him, we shall also live with him. In other words, we have been called to a special kind of life – a Christ-like life.
To live like Christ is to live in love and charity. Where love and charity abides, there God is found – Ubi caritas et amour, Deus ibi est. The story of the Shunammite woman is a pointer to the kind of life we are called to live. Notice that she was not so sure of the identity of the prophet Elisha, yet she spoke with her husband of her suspicion, not that of a negative impression but that of a positive image. The couple offered their home as a resting hub for a stranger, and when she suspected him to be a prophet, she took a step further to prepare a special place for him. There are persons who go to Church daily and yet are so negatively minded. I understand that society today is really dangerous and we shouldn’t really trust anyone, however, we can be favourably disposed to others while still being careful. If someone tells you they are stranded and are in need of transport fare, why not just help out when you can, instead of thinking first about the possibilities of them being ritualists or criminals. I don’t think that anyone can make a career from begging for transport fare. May we learn to be more favourably disposed to help people, even if it is in helping criminals to change their way of life.
Sometimes this task is very daunting, but Jesus opens our eyes to the terms and condition of this lifestyle. We must loosen ourselves to find ourselves in Him. The truth is that our ego or personal principles often comes in our way of treating people as Christian. When this happens, we must seize the opportunity as a moment of dying with Christ in order that we might live with him.
One obvious element of today’s liturgy is the call to support God’s ministers; the first reading and the gospel point this out clearly. Dear friends, it is important to render assistance to God’s ministers. It is one of the commandments of the Church. Sadly, there is a disturbing but growing general consensus that priests are wealthy people, maybe because of how well the church takes care of her priests, or because of some abuses here and there which are a sign of the wounds of the Church. The truth is that Priests take vows of poverty as one of their vows. This vow is to dispose them to be free from material shackles as they carry out the work of evangelization. Thus, every priest you know ideally lives off charity. They are also called to minister to the needs of others from the generosity of the Church. So let me cry out to you all today my dear friends; minister also to your priests, spiritually, materially, and even by words of encouragement and by constructive criticisms. Do not engage in destructive habits such as gossiping about some ills found among priests, talk to a priest instead of talking ill about him. The summary of the message here is, be favourably disposed to everyone, even God’s ministers. As we do this, may we not lose our rewards and may the Lord remember us in the day of His favour. Amen.
Happy Sunday to you all.