Saturday, March 1, 2014

Homily (2) Eighth Sunday Year A: Fr. Michael U Udoekpo

Homily (2) Eighth Sunday Year A: Fr. Michael U Udoekpo
Readings: Isa 49:14-15; Psalm 62:2-9; 1 Cor 4:1-5 and Matt 6:24-34

The Loving God who comforts us!

 In the readings of today we are reminded of a loving God who has not forgotten us. He comforts us as a loving mother would comfort her baby. We are reminded of a merciful God who will never forsake us; who will never forsake Zion, nor abandon his Church. Human weaknesses, especially in times of troubles, worries, frustration and needs are also highlighted in today’s bible lesson. How often do we not hurry to pass judgment, complain or hear people complain about events in their lives: jobs, food to eat, clothing to wear, roof over our heads, education for our children, good health, social and political independence and perhaps freedom- of speech, and even of worship!

In the first reading of today (Isa 49:1-6; 14-18) Judah complains about their sufferings and hardship in exile. They have lost their temple, freedom, land and properties. Naturally, this made some of them to think that Lord had abandoned them, “Zion said, the Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.”

Job and Habakkuk did the same as well as some of Israel’s prophet, including the though, divine but humanly said on the cross at the ninth hour, "My God, My God , why have you abandon me" (Matt 27:46’ cf. Ps 22:1).This is  human nature. This is who we are. As  as humans we often find ourselves complaining when we feel rejected or denied of what we think are right. The good news is that God is much more than a loving mother who would never forget nor abandon the child of her womb!

 Even before Christ’s ninth hour on the cross, preaching and teaching about alms giving, charity and prayer was his mission. He also preached and taught about fasting, dependence and deep trust in God, the source of life and provider of all things we need in life. Today’s Gospel reflects a Jesus who knew and saw the human nature. We worry about so many things! Some of us worship money, power, position, and material things, which could be dangerous to our faith. It can also distract us from focusing on the heavenly values, as it does to Pauline Corinthian Church, in the second reading (1 Cor 4:1-5).

It was community  of rivalry, boasting and pursuit for material things.  Beside materialism, self seeking and self glory were also found in this community..  Saint Paul even became a subject of negative criticism to them. These are dangerous to faith.

Pope Francis recognizes these dangers when he wrote, in his Joy of the Gospel, “the great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures and a blunted conscience” (n.2). The best advice is that of Jesus, who says to us in the Gospel, “do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself” (Matt 6:24-34).

This does not mean  that we should not work and study hard, farm or earn a living. But for our Lord, in as much as we toil in this life, and sometimes encounter setbacks, we should never feel abandoned by God. Just as a loving mother does not forsake her baby, our Comforting God will never abandon us in our needs and difficulties, even at the ninth hour. He is our comforter and the rock of our salvation (ps. 62).