Friday, July 1, 2016

Homily[2] 14th Sunday of Year C: Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily[2] 14th Sunday of Year C: Michael U. Udoekpo
·       Isa 66:10-14c;
·        Ps 66:1-3, 4-7, 16, 20;
·        Gal 6:14-18
·       Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

 We Are Called to Share the Good News of Peace, Joy and Mercy

 Today we celebrate a merciful and inclusive God, manifested in Christ Jesus; and in each of us, and in daily events. He calls us today as his disciples. All of us, the new 72 disciples to go out and share the Good News of the Kingdom of God- basileou tou theou. That is the divine message of peace, joy, mercy, bearing our crosses patiently, forgiveness and prosperity- as missionaries and evangelizers!

Granted that, we have a long history of travelling with our God, the God of Israel, the God  of our Fathers, who assists us in our challenges, we live today in a world of Orlando shooting. A world that experiences the breakdown of family and Christian values, the Brixit vote, the Syria Isis, the Nigerian Boko haram, the Istanbul, Paris, and Brussels’ attacks, the world of the 2016 UEFA and COPPA America tournaments, the Era of Trump vs. Hilary- is the message of the kingdom of God still relevant? How do we as Christians today, in a New Jerusalem, with increase in vocations, priesthood and religious life, respond to the challenges we face? What do we make of the Bible lessons of today?

As noted in the first reading (Isa 66:10-14c) when the Israelites left Babylon and Persia, around 400 BC, and travelled back home to rebuild their torn Jerusalem, they were met with their own challenges of a deeply divided community between the rich and the poor, injustices, rivalry, power politics, despair, and hopelessness; Something that might still be lingering around in our modern society today.

This is where today’s message of the prophet Isaiah makes sense. It is a message of hope and God’s generous response to us, the New Jerusalem. Isaiah says, “Rejoice Jerusalem…I will spread prosperity over her like a river, and the wealth of the nation like an overflowing torrent…As a mother comfort her child, so will he comfort you.”

 In traveling or missioning to this same Jerusalem and beyond Christ deployed not only the
Twelve (Luke 9), but the 72 in today’s Gospel (Luke 10:1-12, 17-22). He instructed them of
what was important on the journey? No heavy bags of money, sacks of shoes, nor power, but
rather,  they must carry with them God’s peace, shalom, joy and divine mercy.
They were to cure the sick in his name and to announce the kingdom of God. They were asked to
 preach to everyone, saints and sinner, male and female, young and old, Jews and Gentiles- since
the Goodness was intended  for people of all cultures, race and nationalities, the poor and the rich.

The 72 were to do this with great kindness, humility of life style and ultimate love, exemplified on
 the Cross of Christ, which Saint Paul is so proud of in today’s 2nd reading(Gal 6:14-18).
 Paul says, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the
World has been crucified to me..." For the 72 what was necessary was invoking the name of
Jesus, what he has done for us, what he will continue to do for us.

 In those moment we feel lost, hopeless, helpless, terrorized or dried up on our Christian pilgrimage, today, let us count ourselves among the 72 disciples, the remnant Israel, and pilgrims who rely on God’s promises of peace and prosperity that “he will spread prosperity over us and our families like a like a river, and the wealth of our nations like an overflowing stream.

Therefore, if God has blessed us with peace and prosperity, we want to go out there in the manner of the 72 disciples of today’s Gospel: joyful, selfless, inclusive, peaceful, merciful, generous, humble, forgiving, and be bearers of that peace and conduits of God's prosperity to our neighbors.