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Homily for nineteenth Sunday C

05 Aug 2016, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

Faith in GodIn our Christian journey, there is a need to constantly look back, to look back not like the one who puts his hand on the plow to look back in fear and uncertainty (Lk. 9:62), but to look back in faith to remind himself of the mighty deeds of God. Our first reading this morning talks about what God had done, how faithful he has been, and a call to trust his faithfulness.

We learned from our first reading this morning that that night had been foretold to our ancestors so that they saw what kind of oaths they had put their trust in, they would joyfully take courage.  God foretold the night of liberation in Egypt, the night he will liberate his people from the hands of the Egyptian powers. God predicted how he would kill every Egyptian’s firstborn because they had maltreated and even killed his own firstborn; Israel. The people of God held onto what God had foretold; they did what he asked of them and waited for that night trustingly.

Our first reading is about God’s faithfulness to the oath he swore; God had sworn to Abraham that to his descendants, he would deliver the land of Canaan. He foretold all these, and the people held onto his word; faith!

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews says in our second reading that Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was faith our ancestors were commended.  The people of Israel had not seen, but they believed that they trusted in his word because God had said so, and they were delivered. Abraham trusted in God and set out for a country he did not know; God’s word was his direction, and by faith, he arrived. By faith Sarah conceived, despite being past the age, it was by faith Abraham was ready to sacrifice his only son, and it was by faith he saw what was yet to be.

This life of faith is what we are called to. The people of Israel waited for that night God foretold; they waited in faith. Abraham traveled an unknown road; as we journey through this life, the Lord says to you and me this morning in our gospel reading; There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.

Fear and faith cannot stay together; we cannot be Christians and be afraid, for the Lord says fear not. Therefore, we are challenged to learn to hold onto the word of God like the people of Israel; we are the privileged ones in Christ Jesus. God promised to lead the people of Israel to the land of Canaan, but it has pleased him to give us the kingdom of heaven. We are not fighting for the land of Canaan; we are not fighting for the earthly kingdom but for the kingdom of God where our treasure will not fail or wear out.

Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; we are not fighting flesh and blood. The people of Israel fought so many physical battles to inherit the land of Canaan, but we fight spiritual battles to inherit the kingdom of God. It is a battle of faith, not the ones fought with Javelin, sword, or guns. It is not by might but by faith in the power of God. This is not the time to party, nor the time to sleep. Be awake in the spirit, for we do not know when the burglar would come. The burglar is the devil; he breaks into our houses, into our lives to steal and to destroy. We must learn to stay awake in the Lord, to wait in hope and faith. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the walls of his house. You too must stand ready because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Do not spiritually sleep off and let the burglar break through the walls of your house; stay awake!

Christianity is a religion of faith; Abraham was justified by faith and not by law. This is not to encourage anyone to disregard the law; however, unless we believe and trust every word from the mouth of God unless we have faith in him alone, our obedience to the law may be useless. Though Abraham was justified by faith, he never disregarded the law; in faith, he respected the law. That is the life we are called to live as Christians, the life of faith: to believe, trust God in Good and in bad times, and never let ourselves be deceived by false prophets and prophecies.

May God bless his words in our hearts.

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