HOMILY FOR THE 22ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
THEME: A GIFT OF THE SELF
Beloved in Christ, Mother Church invites us to reflect on the difficulties and obstacles we encounter daily in our efforts to respond fully and positively to God.We are given the example of Jeremiah and Jesus Himself as regards the decision to offer themselves to God for the sake of others and the challenges that accompany this decision.
Beloved, the seemingly lack of real success in his ministry brought Jeremiah discouragement and disappointment especially when these same people made several attempts on his life. His complain is this, God I did not sign on for this. You told me it will be tough but you did not tell me it will be this tough. What crime did I commit to deserve all this?
Some of us today are like Jeremiah, we assume that if we do God’s will, we will be healthy, wealthy and loved by all. Sadly, this is not the case, for faithfulness to God at times brings trials, sufferings and disappointments, but in spite of all these God blesses us and sheilds us.
Therefore, Jesus today tells us there are conditions necessary for following Him, so that we don’t accuse Him of lying to us or deceiving us. The way of the cross is essential for our salvation and anyone who wants to be His follower must take up his cross and follow Him.
Beloved, Jesus did not say once you are a Christian, everything should become perfect – no suffering, poverty or pain. In the words of St. Paul, we preach Christ crucified. (1 Cor. 1:23) The easy way is not always the safe way. St. Paul warns against shortcuts in life. We are challenged not to conform ourselves to this age (1 Cor 12:2).
Self sacrifice is therefore an ongoing offering of self to God and for the sake of others. The call is freely given to all but once it is embraced a demand of the self is then made by God – denying oneself, saying no to self and yes to God. (Matt 16:24) We are to deal with suffering like Christ, accepting it purposefully.
Christ denied Himself and sacrificed his life for our sake to provide for us an example of the virtue of selflessness. His example is proof that it is possible to be selfless in a world full of selfishness. As imitators of Christ, we are thus to resolve to follow such example given to us by the one whom we imitate.