Homily for 4th Sunday of Ordinary time
(Liturgical Year C)
Homily Theme: Prophesying With Love
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details contact him on:firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or +23408063767512
THEME: PROPHESYING WITH LOVE
It was St. Augustine who once said: “Love and do whatever you want to do”. The focus of today’s first reading from Jer 1:4-5; 17-19, is a call to action – a call to proclaim the good news to the nations or better still, a call to prophesy to the nations. This call is an imperative. In other words, it is a command which must be obeyed. It is so important to God that we obey this command to the extent that He attached both consequences for failure and reward for obedience for heeding the call. Hence, He warns: Do not be afraid or in their presence, I will make you dismayed. On the other hand, God unlike the Egyptian Pharaoh, (Ex 5:12) never sends us to build towers without providing the straws or materials for the work. He thus promises to provide the strength and protection required to accomplish the prophetic mission he is calling us all to: I for my own part today will make you into a fortified city, a pillar of iron, and a wall of bronze to confront all these land. Let us note the personal pronoun “I” God uses and the commitment he made “…for my own part”. This simply means that the call to this prophetic ministry is not solely our business. Rather, it is a business in conjunction with God. It is a collaborative ministry between us and God, it is a partnership, where each partner provides something to make it work and succeed. We make ourselves available while God provides us with the strength and protection. God is our heavenly and spiritual technical partner. He is the one that gives the prophecy and at the same time the one that motivates and protects us in the cause of carrying out the mission.
All said and done our impetus agitat or driving force for this prophetic mission and endeavor must be LOVE. If love is not at the base of this prophetic mission all our efforts will be a mirage, and in vain. This is what the apostle Paul reminds us of today in the second reading from IICor12, 31 – 13, 13. A prophet who lacks love for God the source and giver of the message, for the good news itself and for the people of God for whom the good news is meant according to Paul is but a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. So love must be at the base and the climax of o every prophetic ministry.
Jesus demonstrated and manifested prophetic and missionary love in today’s gospel from Luke 4, 21-30. It was not difficult for him therefore to win the approval of those he ministered to. How did he do this? With love of course! “…he won the approval of all and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips. Without these gracious words which are the fruits and evidence of his love for the Father, the prophetic message he bore, and the people he was sent to, all his efforts would have been in vain and a wasted one.
So today we are privileged to be called by God to be his prophets: to take his words on our lips and to proclaim them to the world. But the gift of prophecy is of no use without the gift of love. Therefore, we need a Christ-like love of the word of God and the world to in order to succeed.
Peace be with you.
Saint of the Week
Paul Miki and Companions (Martyrs)
This week we have chosen Paul Miki and companions (Martyrs) as our saint(s) of the week. This is first and foremost because of the central theme of this week which is prophesying with love and has its bearing on proclaiming of the good news in love. The Second reason for choosing them is that, these martyrs we celebrate this week were real prophets who carried the good news of Christ to far away foreign land (Japan), where they offered their lives for the sake of the good news. Paul Miki and his companions (twenty five others), were martyred for the faith after being led to the place of execution near Nagasaki by a spectacular journey intended to impress the population. They were all pierced with a lance like their Saviour. Pope Pius IX canonized them in 1862 thus, making them the first martyrs of the Far East.
Today their love for the gospel has helped the Far Eastern Church where they bore witness with their blood hence, bringing to fulfillment the popular saying of Tertullian the lawyer that “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church”. Let us pray that God who was the strength of all the saints and who called Saints Paul Miki and companions to eternal life through the cross, may grant us all who venerate them through their intercession, perfect fidelity and witness to the gospel. May he also preserve our own faith until our death.