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Homily for Eighth Sunday in ordinary time, A

24 Feb 2017, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

This morning, our first reading says that Zion complained that the Lord had abandoned her; he has forgotten her. Zion here refers to the city of God and his people; they complained in the land of their exile that God had abandoned them, God has forgotten them. They felt neglected, just as so many Christians believe today that God has forgotten them. But God spoke to them, and he speaks to us this morning saying, Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you. This is Divine assurance; God will not lie to us; he reassures us that even in our own form of exiles, he will never forget us. This assurance should be for us a source of joy, no matter how hard the world tries to make us feel abandoned, let this Divine assurance be our strength. Hold on to it and never let it go.

Many of us here may be so anxious, we may have prayed and prayed, and nothing seems to be happening, we read the bible, and it seems to be silent while the trials of life weigh us down. We are like Noah, who may have felt abandoned in the ark for 40 days and 40 nights, floating aimlessly on the water because it is not recorded that God spoke to him those days. But he was actually not abandoned because the water that killed others held him up with the power of God. God has not left us; what killed others will not kill us. Jesus says; That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it… Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. So set your heart on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well.

Worrying cannot add one single cubit to our life span, yet we have to deal with anxiety every day of our lives. You cannot tell a man who has nothing to feed his family with not to worry, a man whose children are out of school for financial reasons will certainly be anxious, he will be worried about what to eat, how to clothe the body and how to meet all his financial obligations. But in all these, God has not abandoned us.

We must learn from Jesus to trust the Father in all situations; he knows all our needs. In moments of great inner pains, in moments of anxiety, Jesus trusted the Father. Jesus knows what it means to be troubled because he himself was afflicted. When he had to face the cross, a time came in his ministry to face death, and he was troubled and said to his apostles; My soul is sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with me (Mt 26:38 ). When he moved closer and closer to the cross and saw the horror of it, he prayed; My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt (Mt. 26:39). He prayed to the Father in moments of pain; he drew strength from the Father through prayer to face the passion. He did not give up, and he says to us this morning, learn from me.

God has not abandoned us; he has not abandoned you. Can a woman forget the child at her breast? God says that even if she fails, he will not forget her. If he has not forgotten the birds of the air and the flowers growing in the fields, will he not do much more for you? He is the high priest who can sympathize with us, For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then, with confidence, draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:15-16).

There is no doubt that our world is becoming more complicated; we live in difficult days. Our Country is going deeper and deeper into economic recession, things are becoming difficult even for the rich, but we must not let our faith go into recession. We are like Zion that felt abandoned by God, but the word of God assures us that he will never forget us. Let our hope in Christ not die; it is the confident expectation of God’s blessings. The God who rebuilt Zion will rebuild us, the God who restored everything to Job will restore our dignity and glory. He can do much more through Christ our Lord. Amen!