Homily Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
- Ezekiel 17:22-24;
- Psalm 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16;
- 2 Cor 5:1-10
- Mark 4:26-34
We Walk by Faith Not by Sight (2 Cor 5:6-10)
On every Third Sunday in June we celebrate Father’s Day here in the United States of America. Many of us…. are familiar with its social history that goes back to the 1907 mining incidence in West Virginia. As a faith family (at Mother Cabrini Church and elsewhere), with eyes on the Kingdom of God, it is an ideal time to take a little moment to pray for our families, and recall the importance of parenting, mentoring and father-figures in our lives; as well as the gift and place of faith; trusting in God, and in the workings of the mysteries of his kingdom in our lives and for our friends and families in different parts of the world.
As we heard in the parables of today’s scriptures (parables of the eagles, of the trees and of seeds), God accompanies each of us, including our parents, our fathers, our mothers, on our journeys; in everything that we do; small or big. But it only takes faith to realize this—the hiddenness of God’ Kingdom, of his love and mercy in our lives.
In the concluding section of the parable of the eagle (Ezek 17:22-24), Ezekiel, a prophet of exile explains how God protects those who trust him, even when they found themselves in exile- there is hope for return, provided they kept the faith. In his prophecy, Ezekiel seems to be referencing king Zedekiah, in particular who broke his oath and faith in God, in the face of the threat of “the eagle” Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Although Zedekiah is removed, God will provide Israel a savior, a messiah in a very mysterious way, in the person of Christ of Mark’s Gospel, Son of Mary, as prophesied by Israel’s prophets( Isaiah 9:6-7). He is the one that sows a mustard seed in today's Gospel parable.
This little mustard seed that Jesus, Israel’ Messiah sows in today’ Gospel parable of the kingdom is the word of God, the message of the Kingdom of God- love, peace, forgiveness, parental responsibilities, corporeal and spiritual works of mercy. It is a mystery. This mysterious message of the Kingdom requires a faith-response from each of us, by loving others back, for God first loved us; by caring of one another, because God first cared for each us.
We are invited to grow this message; to run home with it. We are invited to allow this message of the kingdom to grow in our lives and in our homes-, becoming like a big tree, welcoming every bird, welcoming everyone, training our children, loving our spouses, giving , even if it is a cup of cold water to travelers and immigrants we may not have met before; forgiving those who may have offended.
This Kingdom of God, as portrayed in in Marks Gospel, and as preached by Paul in 2 Corinthian 5:6-10, requires faith, hope and courage, no matter how small. It is a mystery that can only be perceived and practiced by those, who place their faith and hope, in Christ Jesus, believing and hoping that Christ is the herald of the Kingdom of God. Each of us from all walks of life and culture has a place in this kingdom even with the minutest faith, love and acts of charity we daily perform.
I have no doubt that even in the face of adversities, mysteries, disappointment, threats, bad economy, unfaithfulness, insult, war, famine, illness, loss of our loved ones, many of our parents, particularly our fathers know how to persevere. They know how to love their wives and children. They know how to teach hard work, endurance, patience, respect, care and forgiveness to their children.
We want to honor our husbands today. We want to pray for our fathers and father- figures today, including our mentors and teachers, our brothers, friends, nephews and uncles. We want to appreciate them. And share in the gifts that God has blessed them with, especially the gift of faith in God. For we “walk by faith and not by sight.”
- What jumps out for you in today’s scripture passages?
- How often do you recognize the presence of God’s kingdom in your live and faith community- even in little things and places?
- What challenges our faith and trust in God?