Saturday, November 5, 2016

Homily Thirty-Second Sunday of Year C: Fr. Michael Udoekpo

Homily Thirty-Second of Year C: Fr. Michael Udoekpo
·           2 Mac 7:1-2,9-14;
·          Ps 17:1.5-6,8,15;
·         2 Thess 2:16–3:5
·         Luke 27:27-38
  The King of Life and the Lord of the Resurrection
 Today we celebrate the King of Life and the Lord of the Resurrection. What a, powerful message of hope. There is life after death. There is a great joy that awaits believers who may have to suffer temporally. Jesus gives us this example.  Even though Jesus journeyed to Jerusalem to die for us (Luke 9:51–19), his tomb was never going to be his final destination. This call to hope and faith of a believer, in the Lord of the resurrection is at the core of today’s scripture readings.
 In the first reading when the faith of the Jewish people, God’s children was under threat, in the 2nd Maccabees era, around 180 BC it was important that they be reminded that their God who had once spoke to Moses face to face, the God of their father, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exod 3:14-15) was not only alive, but was still with them. Even when they were being persecuted, tortured and killed because of their faithfulness and obedience to the Law (Torah) all hope was not lost.
A good example is in the moving story of a mother, a family woman and her seven sons  of the Second Maccabees.  They not only remained defiance to an earthly and faithless king, but gave up their lives for the sake of their beliefs, convictions, and faith in God and hope in the Lord and the King of the resurrection.  Can this faith speak to us when we are confronted with modern challenges?
 Of course, this faith spoke to Saint Paul during his trials and missionary journeys. From his personal  faith and encounter and trials, Paul preached faith and hope to his persecuted, worried and despaired Thessalonians church community.  To the troubled Thessalonians, Paul wrote, “may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word… the Lord is faithful he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thess 2:16–3:5).
  God is the source of our strengths . Evil ones, evil things, teachings, and temptations, frustrations, disappointments, threats and uncertainties can come  our ways, as followers of Christ. What is important is our awareness of this  and be able to learn and imitate the Maccabean family and Saint Paul, and apostle of Christ Jesus.
 Christ himself was confronted multiple times in the course of his ministry, the ultimate one been his journey to the cross. In the Gospel reading of today Jesus is confronted with a funny question he Sadducees (Luke 20:27-38). First of all, they did not believe in the resurrection yet had the audacity to dishonestly ask Jesus if Mosaic levirate marriage will be practiced in heaven, in the resurrection! But the point of Jesus’ brilliantly and divinely amazing soothing response to the Sadducees' mischievousness is what we celebrate today- Our God is a living God. He is not a God of the dead! He is the King of life and the Lord of the Resurrection.
 In moments of crises, persecutions, modern mischievousness, hatreds, wars and terrorism, illnesses and economic hardships we do not wish to abandon our faith. And may the faith and hope exemplified in today’s scriptures speak to us, friends, colleagues, family members  and our society. We mean that faith, that hope in Christ, who is our life, the King of life, and the Lord of the resurrection whom we are all invited to embrace.