Homily 21st Sunday Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo· Isaiah 66:18-21;
· Ps 117:1-2;
· Heb 12:5-7, 11-13
· Luke 13:22-30
Go Out to the Whole World Proclaim the Goodnews (Mk 16:15)!
The responsorial Psalm of today, “go out to the whole world and tell the good news [euaggelion],” Mark 16:15, sums up the theme of today’s scripture, namely; the universal nature of God’s love for us; men, women, children from all walks- of – life and the challenges, the narrow gates, the Christian disciplines that we face as we strive towards the kingdom of God.
This universal nature of God’s love for each of us, it does not matter where you come from, what you look like, what gender you are, is evidence in today’s first reading, Isaiah 66. The returnees from the Babylonian and Persian exiles have encountered problems in the Holy Land. There are tensions, there are politics, there are divisions, there are name callings, and there are all forms of injustices from the elites. Who is the rightful owner of the land, the golah (returnees) or the people of the land (those who never experienced the exile)? Should those wives married outside the land or those children born in Persia and Babylon be permitted to be part of the newly rebuilt city of Zion or not? For some no. But for God yes! This is where God steps in, and speaks to Isaiah to proclaim to the people that, ‘he [God] came to gather nations of every language, to see his divine glory.” The glory of the Lord, his goodness, his love, his mercy, especially in this Year of Mercy, is universal!
These we are already experiencing. Think of how Masses are said in different languages all over the world. At these Masses, same readings are read and similar sharing of the bread and blood and the word of God are broken and shared according to various needs of every culture. Again think of the many priests and missionaries we have serving in our countries, in the Vatican, in parishes schools and seminaries. They are from different cultures and nations. And they speak and preach their sermons and homilies in different languages.
In baptism each of us is commissioned to be bearers, preachers, and doers of this universal, inclusive love and mercy of God, manifested in Christ, wherever we live are- Africa, Europe, Asia, America … California, New York! Following Christ, who is the way, the gate, the truth and the life (John 14:6) was never going to be easy at all. It comes with all kinds of challenges and disciplines alluded to in the 2nd reading, the Letter to the Hebrews 12.
In this Year of Mercy one can imagine how challenging it could be to live, for example, the corporeal works of mercy: feeding the hungry—when some us may not yet have enough for ourselves and our children, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, those in imprisons, and burying the dead?
Doing these are classic examples of preaching the Goodnews, and of entering through the narrow gate of today’s Gospel parable (Luke 13:22-33). Following the example of Christ is this narrow gate. Loving one another as Christ loves is this narrow gate. Reaching out to the poor, the voiceless and the marginalized as Christ does, is this narrow gate. Embracing everyone, from north and south, east and west is this narrow gate. Giving out your used clothing or contributing to the food pantry is this narrow gates! This is what it means to go out to the whole world and proclaim the good news to all without counting the cost! May we all go out there proclaiming the Goodnews to every nation of every language and culture.