Saturday, February 25, 2017

Homily Eighth Sunday of Year A: Fr. Michael U Udoekpo

Homily Eighth Sunday of Year A: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
·         Isa 49:14-15;
·          Psalm 62:2-9;
·         1 Cor 4:1-5
·         Matt 6:24-34

God, the Provider In-Chief
 Today we celebrate Christ, the rock of our salvation and Provider In Chief. He is God’s Son who loves and comforts us in our worries. He never abandons us (his children, stewards and servants) in our lacks, needs, challenges, “tomorrow’s frustrations and uncertainties” as stressed in today’s scripture passages, especially the Gospel, which says, “do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself”(Matt 6:33-34).  Remember there has always been worries throughout history!

In the first reading (Isa 49:14-15) while the Judeans complains in Babylonian exile  of their hardships and sufferings- the loss of the temple, land, relatives and properties, Isaiah the prophet is also busy  reminding them that God will never abandon Israel. And rhetorically likens God’s love and compassion to a loving mother who would never abandon her child, no matter what! Can a mother forget her infant? We are God’s children, the renewed Zion. Our Lord constantly watches over us in our worries and troubles! He will never abandon us!
Today’s Gospel particularly also reflects a Jesus, God's incarnate who knows and understands human nature, especially his disciple’s nature, of which we are a part today. They worried so much. We worry so much about many things and life’s vicissitudes: What to eat, what to wear, what to possess! Some people today  go to the extent of worshiping money, power, position, material things, which sometimes could be a hindrance to their faithful relationship with God and their neighbors! Christ toes a different line. For him, when we seek first the values of the kingdom of God, love, humility, simplicity of life, total abandonment, deep trust in God, every other things will be added to us by God his father, who is the source of life and “Provider in Chief” of all things we need in life!

Even to the distracted, worried, conflicted,  quarrelling, judgmental, material-oriented, boastful and self-seeking Corinthian Community, this was also Paul’s message to them in that 2nd reading, 1Corinthian 4:1-5. He advises them “Thus should one regard us; as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.”
How trustworthy are we of God’s love by serving God alone and by loving our neighbors in our little ways? How trustworthy are we of God’s love by seeking first the kingdom of God? How trustworthy are we of God’s protection by adhering to the spirit of evangelical poverty, using what we have judiciously for the common good (CCC2545,)? How trustworthy are we of God’s love by using our power, position and wealth ethically, and selflessly? How trustworthy are we by relying on God’s comfort and on his foundation as our rock, rejecting frivolous pleasure and inordinate pursuit of material things?

Pope Francis recognizes the importance of these questions and 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).
This does not mean that we should not work and study hard, farm or earn a living; have a roof over our ahead, plan our calendar for the next day, week, month, and year. But for our Lord, in as much as we toil in this life, work hard, ethically and sometimes encounter setbacks, we should never feel abandoned by God. In fact, 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 (Psalm. 62). He is our Provider In Chief

 Reflection Questions:
1.     In challenging times do you feel loved by God? Do you still see him as Provider in Chief?
2.     In moments of lacks, exiles, sufferings and worries do you think of the Christ of today’s Gospel that you should not worry about tomorrow since tomorrow will take care of itself?
3.     And in what ways do you, like the Prophet Isaiah share the Gospel of comfort, total abandonment, evangelical poverty, maternal care, deep trust in God and hope with members of your faith communities?