Our Beautiful World
(My Homily for the 16th Sunday of Year A)
1st Reading, Wisdom 12: 13, 16-19; 2nd Reading, Romans 8:26-27; Mathew 13: 24-43.
The Readings of the previous Sunday were an effort to interrogate and examine the condition of the human heart as it is confronted by grace.
This Sunday, the Holy Spirit draws our attention to the larger context of a Beautiful World made by God, the presence of evil in it and the attitude of believers in their relationship with the world.
The question of Good and Evil in the world is a perennial one. It breeds confusion. The question becomes more severe and confounding when pursued to its breaking point thereby giving way to the emergence of two other mystifying questions on, firstly, why the righteous suffer; and secondly, on the difficult issue of the silence of God.
In a corrupt and terrorist (terrorized) state like Nigeria, the success and triumph of the wicked and the intimidations he/she /she brings to bear on such issues that have huge significance for our individual lives and nation - for instance, justice, equity and human rights - could be frustrating, insinuating and suggestive. In a nation that has become an enclave of corruption, terrorism, murder, kidnapping, insecurity, poverty, hunger, injustice and electoral fraud, real believers may be tempted to develop careless and lackadaisical attitudes that will eventually lead them to despair.
The Church community is not bereft of this experience. So let’s put the question of Good and Evil; in the world in another way; Why does the just suffer? And why does God keep quiet and allow evil to thrive?
Given these permutations, we are often tempted to become despondent because of the kind of evil that is at work in the world and – dare I say - in this Church and which tend to govern the attitudes of those around us, including people who present themselves to us as respectful elders, trusted friends, dependable collaborators, e.t.c.
The tendency is for one to fight back at the perceived enemies even if it may require that we create some of these enemies or imposters ourselves when none exists.
OUR LADY's GROTO IN FATIMA, PORTUGAL
We must be slow to think that we understand how the kingdom is present; slow to think we know how it works; and slow to pass judgment on others even if we think and act as the best.
After all, God made it a beautiful world. It is a grace-filled universe with beautiful climate. That’s the reason we must support the Climate Project.
The Psalmist answers to this bewilderment on our behalf with the whole of Psalm 37.
Against this background, I have to observe immediately that one of the greatest secrets behind my being alive and forging ahead these past twenty eventful years as a priest and a theologian is that I do not raise a battle cry that is reserved for the trumpeting angelic hosts. I do not initiate wars to be fought in God’s Name or even go to wars I know have already been fought and won by God. I only come on board when I see God raising the battle cry or when he is already out there fighting at the battle field of faith. In which case, I cannot be an opposition or a deserter given my status as a General in the Fatima Army. Beyond this, I am quite convinced that Jesus Christ did not go about his duty in a police uniform. And he never went out of his way looking for demons to cast out – yet, no demons dared to stand on his way or posed an obstacle in his resolve to accomplish his mission in the world.
Some fights or wars are not necessary. And the despondency or despair that grows out of our dissatisfaction with the seeming prevalence of evil over good is seductive to the point that we may decide to abdicate our Christian obligations of being “a light in the dark” and “the salt of the world” where even the wicked, the weak ones and the unbeliever can come to shelter and, through our hospitality and tolerance, come to appreciate the patience and mercy of God. The admonitions of the Psalmist in Psalm 37 still persist.
By the working of the Holy Spirit through prayer, we are always in deep communion with the Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient God who created and still governs the world. And according to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, former Archbishop of Buenos Aries who became Pope Francis, “the name of our God is Mercy”. This is one side of the truth that many within the Church today have not come to terms with. This could be well understood given the many years the Church has been made to patronize those inclined to authoritarianism.
I wholeheartedly subscribe to the view of the beautiful authors of the Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible when they wrote thus:
“If this world is God’s world and not Satan’s world, there is nothing that is revealed in it by the power of the Holy Spirit that needs to put fear into the hearts of believers. Unbelievers are those who are afraid in God’s world”.
In fact, I want to cease this opportunity to let each and every member of this congregation know that I am too busy with God in prayer to notice that the devil is at work. I am not losing sleep over any so-called satanic propaganda. Earnestly, I am not perturbed or threatened!
Jesus Christ did not pretend about the existence of the Devil. He did not even underrate what the enemy can do in the Vineyard of God. And for the Superior of the Society of Jesus to insinuate on issues that play out on the contrary is an indictment on the sincerity of his mission as a Jesuit.
Some impostors today must not be allowed to impose their liberal views or secularist opinions on the Church hiding behind the clout of their office. This is another extreme to the tolerance and patience that the Gospel demands from us in our dealings with the “darnel” planted by the devil.
Beyond this, despite everything, my feet rest firm on Psalm 62. And my instructor of Hebrews 12:2 tells me not to take my attention away from Romans 8:37 which says that ….. In all these…. that is, concerning all these darnels, devils, the works of the devil, the secularists, these satanic propaganda….. whereever they are coming from , I am – and if it interests you, then - “WE” are – not just mere conquerors – but “more than CONQUERORS” in Christ Jesus who loves us”.
And Daniel 11:32 assures me that “Those who know their God do exploits”.
Did 1stJohn 4:4 not drum it into my head and make it grow like the cedar of Lebanon in my heart that “he that is in me is greater than he that is in the world”. That’s the Mustard Seed of last Sunday. It is the seed of greatness. Therefore, I am born great. I have the power to become what I want to become because the seed is already in me.
Even in my weakness, the Holy Spirit takes up the Divine Project of Greatness in me and goes to discuss it directly with God in a language that I myself cannot learn, let alone speak. After all, is the Holy Spirit not the great counselor and advocate?
Therefore, hand in glove with the Holy Spirit – that is - walking by the spirit; moving in the Holy Ghost - does somebody not see how busy I am to notice him and his darnel – I am greatness born! I am prosperity incorporated!! I am for signs and wonders and miracles!
Somebody get ready to join me for thanksgiving!
I am a winner!!
I am a Victor!!!
It is my Victory!
I do not have the time to see the Devil. Somebody help me say sorry to the Devil.
Devil sorry oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.