HOMILY ON THE 13TH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
The Lord declared long ago through the prophet Jeremiah, ‘I know the plan I have for you, plan for welfare not calamity, to give you a future and a hope,’ (Jer. 29:11). In the Gospel of St. John 10:10, the Lord says that He came that we may have life and have it to the full. Again, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ (Jn. 14:6), the wisdom of Solomon as we read in today’s first reading made it clear that is not the creation of the Lord. Jesus said as cited above that he is the Life and He has created us in His image and likeness, this mean that He created us to possess life not death as He said through Jeremiah in the citation above, His plan for us is for our welfare not calamity. I invite you therefore to reflect with me on the theme
I COME THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE TO THE FULL
The purpose of Christ’s coming into the world is to redeem man and restore him to his original dignity, to heal man of the fatal wound he incurred by his rebellion against God. He came to offer hope to the hopeless man, to raise the downtrodden, to give sight to the blind, to let the prisoners go free, to raise the dead to life etc. All these are what make life meaningful. So when the Lord says that He came that we might have life to the full, He meant that He came to give us an enjoyable life, a life devoid of endless anxiety, sorrows and discomfort, in fact, a fulfilled life. But a life without God cannot be free from endless sorrows and discomfort, therefore, what He meant is that He came to give us Himself who is life itself. I am the resurrection and the Life anyone who believes in me will never die (Jn.11:26) To have Christ is to have sorrow-free life, it is to possess all and to lack nothing. If our lives are lived in God then we should truly be happy, contented and fulfilled. This is exactly what Christ does each time He performs Miracle like the one we heard in today’s gospel. He desires to give us something greater than physical healing and comfort, which is Himself. He gave a quality life to the woman whose life was a living hell and restored life to another (little girl) whose life was sniffed out of her. He is concerned of our wellbeing even when we do not understand it. FAITH, A
NECESSITY FOR HAVING LIFE IN FULL: As defined in the simple catechism, faith is a supernatural gift which enables us to believe without doubt, whatever God has revealed. Faith opens every closed door, it penetrates all the impenetrable, where reasons fails, faith succeeds. Faith is a belief in the reality revealed by God even when there is no rational ground for that. For instance, in the gospel of today, how can reason convince us that mere touching of a particular person’s garment would restore a woman to health, who had spent all her life savings with the doctor all to no avail? Or could reason show us empirically how a mere word could call back a dead person to life. Again, we believe that Jesus Christ is God, that He was born by an ordinary creature, a woman, that He suffered, died and was buried and that He rose from the dead. All these are realities known to faith but sound stupid to the senses.
When Jesus received the message that the synagogue official’s child whom He set out to heal had already died, He only told the synagogue official to be calm and have faith. Faith means believing, believing means trust and trust involves solid commitment. When our life journey takes us through the rough and thorny road, the Lord expects us to place a firm confidence and faith in Him. To doubt is an expression of faithlessness. Without faith our journey as Christians are useless and can lead us to nowhere. We cannot talk of faith without believing and we cannot believe in someone unless we trust him. Faith is a master key to every problem. It gives us access to every locked door and places us ahead of our problem. Faith leads us to hope and love is an expression or demonstration of faith, or better put, love is faith in practice. In today’s gospel we see a man and a woman whose faith were so admirable. Christ actually extolled them and wanted us emulate them.
CONCLUSION: God is a compassionate Father whose desire is to see that we are happy and fulfilled in life. He never desires our death and doom but works for our wellbeing at all times. He however, expects us to express our faith and trust in His loving care, believing that with Him all things are possible and that He loves us without measure and unconditionally. Although He can do all things, He wants us to invoke Him with so faith. Like these two personalities presented to us in the gospel, who never doubted the capabilities of Christ, we should repose our total confidence and unalloyed trust in His providential care.
Like Jesus our master, we should always seek for the opportunity to put smiles in the faces of the peoples we come across or those under our care. Even when we are not gifted with the physical healing and miraculous power, we can still affect people positively by visiting them in their sick bed, counseling them when they are troubled and confused, sharing our food with those who are hungry, sharing our cloths with those who are naked, comforting those who are bereaved, etc.
Above all, we should strive to possess Christ Himself since acquisition of all the material things and health without Christ will never make us happy but when we possess Him who is the Life, our joy will be complete.