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Homily for third Sunday in ordinary time B

19 Jan 2018, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

Preacher Teaching from Bible

The City of Nineveh was once great and a City of sin, a city that needed cleansing. That is to tell us that greatness is not measured by what you possess but by what you do with what you possess. Nineveh was a great city in the eyes of men, but in the eyes of God, it was a city that needed help. You cannot claim to be great, yet cannot do all things; you cannot help yourself. No matter how great Nineveh was, she needed to be healed, to be saved. So, God sent his servant Jonah to preach repentance to the people of the City. Jonah preached, and they repented; God relented and healed the City of its sin. Though they were sinners, their sins did not stop God from loving them and planning their salvation. Same with us; even in our sinfulness, God is still interested in our salvation. He is interested in you as a person and wants you back to himself, to his love and peace. Holding on to our past and believing that our sins cannot be forgiven is a satanic strategy to keep us away from the mercy of God, God forgave Nineveh, and he can forgive us also.

God’s love remained unchanged; he so loves the world that he sent his only Son to die to save the world. Today’s gospel reading tells how Jesus, the Son of God, proclaimed the word God, calling the world to repentance. The Father sent Jonah to Nineveh but sent his only Son to us. He sent his Son out of love, not vengeance. He did not send him to condemn the world but to redeem it. He sent his son to proclaim the era of favor, to call us to repentance as Jonah did at Nineveh. Jesus proclaimed; Repent, and believe in the Good News. Unfortunately, our generation is no longer a generation that believes in repentance but miracles. All people want today is a miracle, prosperity; I believe in these, but seek first God’s kingdom. The greatest miracle you can ever get is the healing of your Soul; no doctor can treat your Soul if it is sick; only God can do that; the miracle of all miracles.

As Jesus walked along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew; they were casting their nets, for they were fishermen. Jesus called them to follow him, and immediately they left their nets and followed Jesus. And going a little further, he saw another set of brothers; James and John called them also to follow him, and they did. That is the kind of response God wants from us, to respond positively to the call to salvation. God has called you and me, and like the apostles, we must drop our nets and follow him. Our nets may be that addiction, our lives of sin. We must drop them all to follow Jesus.

When the apostles drooped their fishing nets, they were given another kind of ‘net.’ They were given the power to catch men, I will make you fishers of men. When we are bold enough to drop our weak and sinful nets, we are empowered with a stronger net. When we are bold enough to drop every other power to hold onto Christ, we become stronger.

Our generation must hear and accept the message of Christ, the message of repentance. Jesus said that this generation is evil, all we want is signs and wonders, but the only sign we will be given is the sign of Jonah (Lk. 11:29f); and what is this sign of Jonah? The sign of Jonah is that he preached without signs and miracles, and the people of Nineveh repented. He who is greater than Jonah came preaching the same repentance, but this generation asks for signs. On the last day, he said the people of Nineveh would rise and condemn us because they heard the word from God’s servant and repented, but we are asking for signs from him who is greater than Jonah. The South’s queen will also rise and condemn us because she heard Solomon’s Wisdom and believed, but here is one greater than Solomon talking to us, and we are asking for signs. Let us allow the word of God that Jesus proclaimed and the Church still proclaims to penetrate us today without doubt; believe the gospel and be saved. Nobody knows the day nor the hour. The Lord may hate your sins, but he loves you and wants you back, do not allow the devil to be active in your life. Repent and be saved.