HOMILY FOR THE 33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A.
Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
THEME: LET US LOVE, NOT WITH WORDS BUT WITH DEEDS (1 John 3:18)
Beloved in Christ, this Sunday is a very special Sunday for we celebrate the first world day of the poor. This day was established by Pope Francis when he presented his apostolic letter “MISERICODIA ET MISERIA” at the end of the Jubilee year of Mercy on November 20, 2016 and fixed it for the 33rd Sunday in ordinary time.
I ask that you kindly allow me to share with you excerpts from the Pope’s message for the first ever world day of the poor celebration on the theme “LET US LOVE, NOT WITH WORDS BUT WITH DEEDS.”
(1.) Care for the poor is an imperative that no Christian may disregard… ” everyone, independent of religious affiliation is invited to openness and sharing with the poor through concrete signs of solidarity and fraternity.
(2.) Jesus’ way of life has two pillars:
a. God loved us first (1 John 4:10-19)
b. He loved us by giving completely of himself, even to laying down his life (John 3:16). This love though it asks nothing in return, cannot go unanswered, for it sets our hearts on fire and leads us to love back.
(3.) Words alone are not enough… empty words contrast with concrete deeds (James 2:14,26) St. Francis of Assisi is a perfect example of the response of the Church, for he not only embraced and gave them love, he chose to stay with them. For St. John Chrysostom, “If you want to honour the body of Christ, do not scorn it when it is naked, do not honour the Eucharistic Christ with silk vestments, and then, leaving the church, neglect the other Christ suffering from cold and nakedness.
(4.) This celebration is to create moments of encounter and friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance. It is to appeal to our conscience that sharing with the poor enables us to understand the deepest truth of the gospel.
Finally, the poor are not a problem but a resource from which to draw as we strive to accept and practise the essence of the gospel.
Let us on this day turn our gaze on all those who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity, for they are our brothers and sisters, created and loved by our heavenly father.