Dr Lubem - Homily for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C. 17-02-2019 by Fr. Lubem Robert Waya, osj.
First Reading: Jeremiah 17:5-8
Psalm: Psalm 1:1-2.3.4. and
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20
Gospel: Luke 6:17, 20-26
A quick look at the readings of today reminds me of a poem ‘The Two Ways’ by Parmenides of Elea, talking about the two ways of inquiry ‘aletheia’ (truth) and ‘doxa’ (opinion) symbolizing reality and appearance. He says reality is divided into two; what is, and what is not and concludes that only truth is real and should be followed, while appearance is not real and should not be followed. Generally life also presents itself in two phases; what is and what is not, that is why we talk about good and evil, life and death, right and wrong, truth and falsehood, light and darkness e.t.c. with one way leading to our happiness and the other to our sadness. The prophet Jeremiah today too in our first reading and Christ in the gospel also using the beatitudes, tow this same line of thought placing before us the two basic human rewards; blessedness and curse (punishment), as the two consequences of our choices. This means that whatever choices we make in life surely brings either of the two, but as children of God, God charges us to make the right choice that would bring us blessings rather than curses. And that choice lies where we place our trust. If we put our trust in humans like us, then we are cursed, but if we place our trust in the Lord then we are blessed. Even our responsorial psalm says ‘Blessed the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.’ So ask yourself, where does your trust lie?
In pairing the readings of today, the Church wants us to see the similitude between Jeremiah and Christ. However, the main task is for us to see if we can draw any semblance between ourselves and Christ. Jeremiah as a man who trusted in God reminds us today that cursed be anyone who trusts in human beings. He had lived through the events resulting in the Babylonian captivity when King Zedekiah wanted to overpower Babylon by forging foreign alliances with pagan nations. And God sent him to warn the king that man alone cannot solve his own problems. Man needs to trust in God, and because the king refused to heed this counsel, trusting rather in himself and his allies, Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 588 BC. This is a message that is still very much relevant for us today, and history has shown too that relying on our own competence and capabilities alone to run the world created by God will only lead us to self-destruction.
There are many good people in the world today who want to end human suffering and pain, and make the world a better place. However they do this without recourse to God, trusting solely in their own abilities. Some of you belong to this class of people, and that means woe to you as Christ says, because you trust in yourself, in your powers, wealth, intellect, energies, resources, and capabilities that you have, forgetting the God that has created you and given them to you. Remember the most terrible war in human history World War I fought from 1914 to 1918. After that war, different nations of the world gathered in Versailles in 1919 and signed a peace treaty that the war would be the last to end all wars. And at that time, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XV said the peace treaty would not work since there was no place for trust and recourse to God in it. Some people saw the Pope as being pessimistic, but exactly 20 years later from 1939 to 1945, we all know the Pope was correct when the deadliest war ever in human history, the World War II broke out. So even creating a perfect and peaceful society cannot be achieved by us alone without turning to God the creator of all that exists who is the guarantor of peace and the Perfect One. That is why the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes ‘on the Church in the modern world’ says ‘creation without the creator fades into nothingness,’ because many people today often trust in themselves and in their possessions instead of placing their trust in God. And by doing this they are heading towards doom. This is what psalm 127:1 refers to, saying -‘If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do the builders labour. And if the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil.’ The Disciples of Christ did this, leaving everything to follow Him, trusting that He cannot call them and abandon them; and Jesus blessed them. This would be seen by the world as foolishness, but to trust whole heartedly in the Lord is the greatest wisdom that can bring us blessedness in our lives. We also as children of God today are called to do the same. We must trust in the God who has called us both in good times and in bad, and not in ourselves. Ask yourself, do you trust in yourself, in people, in your brains, your skills, in your connections, in your wealth, in your qualifications and positions, thinking that these can save you in life? All of these will fail you, only the Lord cannot fail you. Instead, we must learn to give of ourselves in service and to share our possessions with our brothers and sisters in gratitude as blessings that we have received from God. And by blessing others with our endowments, the Lord Himself will continue to bless us more and more. This is our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.