Saturday, August 2, 2014

Homily (2)17th Sunday of the Year A: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily (2)17th Sunday of the Year A: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12; Ps 119:57, 72, 76-77,127-130; Rom 8:28-30 and Matt 13:44-52

Understanding the treasure of God’s Love

Throughout history the Lord is always loving, forgiving and ready to assist us with all our needs. In the first reading of today (1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12) the Lord at Gibeon appeared to the young and inexperienced king Solomon in a dream. Divinely encouraged, Solomon asked the Lord neither for riches, long life, fame, nor for power to dominate those he disagreed with, but for the gift of the spirit of understanding and discernment of God’s ways of dealing with us.

In his dealings with us, God forbids tyranny, pursuit of evils, rash and harsh judgments of our neighbors and dictatorship of all forms that we sometime find in our contemporary leaders. In dealing with us, God forbids apostasy and worship of false gods, and rushing into decisions without first discerning and committing them to God in prayers.  Even in the midst of our daily sufferings and persecutions we need discernment to realize that “all things work together for good for those who love God.” (Rom 8:28-30).

And those who truly love God will, but pursue the values of His Kingdom, which Jesus in parables, compares with a “treasure,” and a “pearl,” discovered unexpectedly. It is also compared with a net that hauls in fish “of every kind”, bad and good (Matt 13:44-52).

What is important in the first two parables of the discovered treasure and pearl is our joyful and total response to finding God after a long and successful search. It doesn’t matter how long it takes us to succeed, to discover the treasure of God’s love and forgiveness. God's time frame is not our time frame. When we succeed God wants us as his disciples, and like the Evangelist Matthew to share with joy and humility our experience and giftedness of Him. He wants us to carry along those who are yet to succeed!

These gifts and faith we received from God as Christians must be at the service of our families, ecclesial and civil communities.  In our times, we want to share the stories of our faith with our children and grandchildren today. We want to tell them where we came from in faith, the journeys thus far and how God has blessed us, and how things were done before now, the movies that were watched, the seniors and the aged that were cared for and even the parents and the teachers that were respected. We want to share with our fellow workers, colleagues and friends- those values and honesty that were taught and promoted – the Christ that you have discovered. These treasures are not meant for our selfish custody.

Truly, sometimes our times are filled with selfishness, materialism, subjectivism, and abuse of power in some quarters, neglect of faith and the role of God in our lives, lack of understanding of our neighbors, our subjects, bosses, fellow workers and family members. Our times are also being mixed up with inability to separate evil from good, right from wrong. Anything goes! Sometimes freedom without responsibility!

Like Solomon let us pray for God’s wisdom today in our daily choices, judgments, evaluations and discernments. Let us also pray for the grace to always understand the treasure of God’s love, His goodness for us and the values of His Kingdom!