Homily for 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B

Faith Demonstrated Through Action

Readings: 1st: Is 50, 5-9; Ps: 114; 2nd: Jam 2, 14-18; Gos: Mk 8, 27-35

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

(https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-8392)

Today, the twenty-fourth Sunday of ordinary time, we honor and celebrate Christ, the son of God, who humbly accepted the weakness of our human condition. He demonstrated his solidarity with us by generously renouncing himself and taking the cross.

Our first reading from Isaiah is one of the “Suffering Servant Songs.” It is the prophecies about Jesus Christ, the Messiah. He was not rebellious. On the contrary, He did the Father’s will by proclaiming and securing salvation for humanity. Through his action, Christ proved his love for us. Also, through it, He demonstrated his faith in His father.

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Our second reading is a challenge for each one of us to be practical with our faith. It presents us with the reality of what it means to be a true Christian. James reminds us that: “Faith without good work is dead or useless.”

While reflecting on today’s readings, I recalled these words of Jennifer López on her appeal for charity on behalf of sick children. She says: “Miracles do not come easily. Behind every miracle, there is a generous and charitable heart.”

This generous and charitable heart is a heart of faith in action. God needs our prayer, our sweet talks, and, most importantly, our faith expressed in concrete steps. This is what he needs most to achieve the next miracle for others. Christ proved his love for us by being practical. He prayed and also offered his own life for you. Practical Christianity means faith in action. It means sacrifice. It means sharing in the pain and joy of others

In today’s gospel, Jesus spoke about how he would fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah. His mission was to redeem humanity through his suffering and death. However, Peter did not understand this. Although he was right in professing that Jesus is the Messiah, it was difficult for him to understand how Jesus could offer himself to be killed for the salvation of all.

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Peter knew who Jesus was, but he was not ready to accept the reality that faced Him. He wants the crown but denies the cross that must come before it. Like Peter, most times, we do not want to face the realities of our life. Especially moments that put our faith to test. Rather, we want to deny them. We only want to hear that there will be no difficulties in life.

Finally, practical Christianity means faith in action. It means accepting to carry one’s cross humbly and patiently while relying on the same grace that helped Christ. It is by taking his cross and dying on it that Christ demonstrated his love and generosity for us. So, he wants us to do the same. Practical faith helps us to understand and live the mystery of the cross. Faith without action is dead. Put another way; an un-demonstrated faith is of no value.

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!

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