Homily for fourteenth Sunday B

Recently I was reading some stuff posted on the internet by a lady named Lara Parker, she was talking about growing up. She presented 25 things she claims no one would tell you about growing up, and one of the points she raised was that at some point in life, the people you once considered your best friends will become strangers to you. I do not know if you have ever experienced that, but that was what happened to Jesus.Jesus He preached and healed so many people, but when he returned to his own town he was rejected. They said, where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the Son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us? And they would not accept him.

Those Jesus once considered his people, friends and relations denied and rejected him. This sort of rejection can be very frustrating, if it were an enemy that mocked me, I could endure it; if it were an opponent boasting over me, I could hide myself from him. But it is you my companion, my colleague and close friend. We had intimate talks with each other and worshiped together in the Temple. Psalm 55:12. It is more painful and frustrating when a friend or relations rejects you than when an enemy does, but Jesus refused to be frustrated. His ministry did not die because his people rejected him, his rejection did not stop him from accomplishing his mission. The bible tells us that before he died on the cross he said, it is accomplished, it is finished (Jn. 19:30). He accomplished his mission despite his people’s rejection of him, nothing could stop him.

As Christians we must not allow ourselves to be limited, not even our weaknesses should limit us. St. Paul refused to be limited by his weakness, he rather stood on the promise of God that his grace is enough for him. graceHe held on to the grace of God and said; I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.

This is not an attempt to encourage anyone to celebrate and glory in weakness but a call to acknowledge the mercy and grace of God to rise above our weaknesses and cross the limit the world sets for us. Jesus crossed the limit set for him by his people, yes; they rejected him not on account of his message or not because his message was false, but simply because he did not become what they expected him to become. When they heard him spoke, they were amazed. They questioned themselves about how he got the wisdom, knowledge and power he displayed. They knew him as the carpenter, so he was supposed to remain a carpenter, using hammer and nails. That was the limit they set for him, not the kind of power and wisdom they see him demonstrate. They call him the Son of Mary and even claims to know his brothers and sisters, they know him to be from a poor family. But how this so called poor man is now giving life and hope to both the rich and the poor, is what they could not understand.

limiteBrethren, there are so many things around us that may try to limit us. The devil would want to use our past, our sins and our weaknesses to limit and hunt us. He would want to accuse us of so many things, but the bible tells us that the accuser who accuses us day and night has been thrown down (Rev. 12:10). Let him be permanently down in your life, for that is where God has placed him. He has no right to accuse you or set limit for you. He may have planted some family and ancestral curses to limit us and stop our breakthrough, but Jesus who cannot be limited will lift us above our limitations. We look beyond the limitations of our strength to hold on to the unlimited power of God. It is faith in him that will save us. He was unable to perform miracle in his own town because they lacked the faith to enable miracle, but the few that had faith were healed.

Christianity is a religion of faith and not of rules. Do not doubt God and do not reject him for any reason. Like St. Paul, let us have the confidence to say that nothing will ever separate us from the love of God (Rom.8:35). Have faith in God and you will cross the limit the world sets for you.

Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA

Joel Okojie is an ordained Catholic Priest in the Order of St. Augustine. He has been a Priest for over a decade. He served as pastor in two different parishes, he was one time Novice Master and a member of the Provincial Council of the province of St. Augustine of Nigeria, and he is currently on a mission in response to the needs of the Church in Canada.

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