HOMILY OF TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C)
READINGS: Jer. 38:4-6.8-10; Ps. 40; Heb. 12:1-4; Luke 12:49-53
At the birth of Jesus Christ, the scripture relates the following “And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of goodwill.’” (Luke 2:13-14) Somebody is said to be of goodwill if he/she is friendly, helpful, or has cooperative feelings or attitude. And somebody who is of goodwill will surely enjoy peace.
Peace is a gift from God and Jesus says clearly “Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27). But why should Jesus the giver of peace, the prince of peace sound in today’s gospel like a leader of Boko Haram, Al Shabaab or one of the terrorist groups of our time? He says, “’I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! ‘Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” (Luke 12:49-51).
It seems following Jesus would turn us to become terrorists, rebels and fighters? Jesus seems to contradict the first Gloria of the Angel that was sung at His birth “‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of goodwill.’” (Luke 2:14).
My dear friends in Christ, after our baptism, confirmation, Perpetual Vows of our Religious Vocations, Priestly ordination, we are expected to live a life worthy of our calling – a life of commitment, a life driven by our religious convictions and principles, a life that reflects the teachings of Christ, in short a Christ like life.
The said life is completely at variance with the life of the world. Little wonder Jesus would say you are in the world but not of the world (John 17:14ff.). It means there is a set out worldview a Christian is to accept and allow it to influence His/her lifestyle. Failure to do so would result is lack of peace in our individual life, family life, as a community, a Church and the world.
In the first reading, the Israelites deviated from the path of God and where recalled by Jeremiah, instead of listening to him, they revolted and planned to eliminate him. That unfortunate stubbornness landed them in exile and they lost the peace of God.
St. Paul therefore, encourages us to appreciate the faith we have received from Jesus who is “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” We are to do so by persevering in doing what we have learnt from Jesus. If we do so, we shall experience the peace of Christ.
As an individual, a family, a community and a Church, what is the source of your information to live out the worldview of Jesus? Is it based on your will, that of the world or Jesus? It is very obvious today in our world that many of us have shifted our grounds. We have compromised standards. We are no longer zealous and preserving in doing the right things according to the teachings of Jesus. Hence we experience a lack or absence of peace. We tell lies effortlessly, we give in to sexual immorality freely; we give sin special and colourful names. We steal and say we have misappropriated, embezzled, or siphon funds; we abort babies and say we have expressed our determination;