Saturday, November 17, 2012

Homily 33rd Sunday of the Year B: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily 33rd Sunday of the Year B: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Dan 12;1-3; Ps 16:5,8-11; Heb 10:11-14,18; Mark 13:24-32

The Community of the Redeemed

As the year is gradually moving from January to December, liturgical readings are also shifting attention from old things to new; from sin to holiness. Reflections are moving from earthly realities to expectation of heavenly values, from earthly sacrifice or temple to heavenly sacrifices and temples; from inferior priesthood to superior priesthood, from ineffectiveness to effectiveness, from imperfection to perfection, from exile to liberation, from oppression to freedom, weakness to strength and from hopelessness to hope. There is this call for watchfulness!

Daniel and his friends in the midst of persecutions and sufferings in exile have been watching, praying and waiting. The first reading of today seems to bring Daniel and his friends some sense of justice and hope, that, “at that time there shall arise Michael” the archangel and the people of God shall be free. Even those gone before us shall awake; the wicked shall be punished and disgraced while the faithful and the wise shall shine like the splendor of firmament.

Apart from Daniel, the Disciples of Christ were also faced with the difficulties of understanding what Christ's passion and suffering in Jerusalem and final return would look like or what signs would accompany the Parousia. For Christ it is not necessary to be asking for signs. Just as it is self evidence that the tender leafy branch of an olive tree predicts summer, but it takes a process for the ripening of the fig tree- so also the sign of the coming of the Son of man will be so unnatural that it will defy all scientific predictions. No one knows the time of the coming of the Son of Man. What we require most are prayer, watchfulness and the attitude of a door keeper waiting for the master to return home.

When the master returns to see the faithful servant, waiting for him, he is happy. He ‘elects” him with joy and lavishes him praises and perhaps with gifts. The servant is also redeemed from many inconveniences, including the anxiety   for his master's return.

Christ is our master. In order to return to save us he had to go to the sacrifice of the cross.
Christ, passion or sacrifice of  the cross not only washes away our sins, but enables us even when we make any mistake or find ourselves in the midst of sufferings, illness and persecution like in the case of Daniel, to  pick up courage, to fight that illness, that temptation those weaknesses and  be able to start it all over again. The Eucharist gives us new life. It gives us an opportunity to rediscover our lost hope and faith. Like Daniel it enables us make amends, to retrace our journey back to Lord and to the Land he had promised us. It is a perfect and a refreshing sacrifice, superior to that of the levitical priest (Heb 10:11-18)

 The Eucharist we celebrate reenacts this single sacrifice of Christ on the cross. It is not just perfect, but it is the center, the pivot of our Christian life. It nourishes us with patience, love, hope, and forgiveness.  It is linked with all aspects our Christian calling, including peace, joy, unity, justice, charity and mutual communion. These are the ingredients or the components of the community of those who have been redeemed. And that is ourselves!