Homily For 22nd Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year A

Total Submission And Conformity To Christ

Readings: 1st: Jer 20, 7-9; Ps 63; 2nd: Rom 12, 1-2; Gos: Mt 16, 21-27

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today, the twenty second Sunday of ordinary time, the church, encourages us to overcome all reluctance and obstacles in order to offer ourselves completely to Christ. Hence, all the readings of this Sunday lean towards, total submission and conformity to Christ.

In the first reading, Jeremiah lamented: “Lord you have seduced me; you have overpowered me.” He simply complained about the toughness of his mission. Lord God, but you did not tell me that it was going this difficult! Of course, at the beginning of his call, he resisted God, making excuses: “Lord God, truly I do not know how to speak. I am only a boy.” However, God insisted that He has chosen him even from his mother’s womb. (Jer 1:4-10).

The resistance, submission and ordeal of Jeremiah, tells us that nothing can prevent the mission of God, not even our resistance. This is especially when His’s hands are upon one. Though Jeremiah resisted, he eventually submitted to God: “…and I have let myself be seduced.” He conformed to God’s will, and was no longer in charge of himself. Rather, the word of God burned like fire in him, that he could no longer resist preaching it.

After submitting to God, eventually, the Jeremiah who was very timid, and did not know how to speak, became transformed. There is much mystery in God! We over assume that our mission must be easy at all times. Unfortunately, it is not always so. Faithfulness to God at times brings us trials, disappointments and even sufferings. At times, he allows us to experience horrific pains. However, in spite of all these, He shields and blesses us.

In the second reading, Paul employed the language of grace, rather than that of law to implore us: “Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. Here, Paul calls us to submit completely to God without resistance and reservation. To present our bodies is to submit our faculties, and the totality of our being. It is, total surrender to God. This total surrender, is essential to a life of righteousness, joy, peace and victory in Christ.

Of course, to offer oneself completely means accepting all that comes with it. In his second call today, Paul insists that we must conform to Christ, rather than to this world. It is only when we have offered ourselves completely to God, that we can conform to Christ. Conformity to Christ means, living like Christ.

It means, participating in his life and death, with our eyes fixed on his glory. It means that, Christ now lives and works in us through the Holy Spirit (Gal 2, 20). This was what the glorious saints did. They submitted, and conformed to Christ by participating in his life, death and resurrection. Now, they participate in His glory.

In today’s gospel, we see the irony of life. The same Peter who proclaimed that Christ is the messiah last week, is today rebuked as “Satan.” Christ simply rebuked him for being an obstacle to his mission. This shows that though, Peter professed that Christ is the Messiah (as God revealed it to him), yet, he has not fully understood the nature of Christ’s mission.

He still sees it only from the perspective of royalty and glory. Of course, he was eager to participate in these. This also teaches us that, we are all vulnerable to making mistakes and falling, no matter how spiritual we are. So, this calls for taking seriously, the admonition of Paul: “Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he falls” (1Cor 10:12).

Peter could not understand why Christ should be talking this way. However, God’s call is not only about, and participating in his glory, it is also participating first in his suffering. This is what Christ did. That He offered himself as a living sacrifice, means that he submitted everything without reluctance for our salvation. Yet, Peter has not realized the necessity of Christ’s death, that “it is better for one man to die for the people, than to have the whole nation destroyed.” (Jn 11:50).

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!

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Homilia Para El Vigésimo Segundo Domingo Del Tiempo Ord., Año A

Sumisión Total Y Conformidad A Cristo

Lecturas: 1ra: Je 20, 7-9; Sal: 63; 2da: Rom 12, 1-2; Ev: Mt 16, 21-27

Esta breve reflexión fue escrita por el Reverendo Padre Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. Él es un sacerdote católico y un miembro de la Congregación de los Padres y Hermanos del Espíritu Santo (Espirítanos). Él está trabajando con el Grupo Internacional Espirítano De Puerto Rico y República Dominicana. Él es el administrador de la Parroquia La Resurrección del Señor, Canóvanas y el Canciller de la Diócesis de Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. Para más detalles y comentarios se puede contactarlo encanice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Hoy, el vigésimo segundo domingo del tiempo ordinario, la iglesia, nos alienta a superar todas las reticencias y obstáculos para ofrecernos completamente a Cristo. Por lo tanto, todas las lecturas de este domingo se inclinan hacia la sumisión total y conformidad a Cristo.

En la primera lectura, Jeremías se lamentó: “Señor, me has seducido;” fuiste más fuerte que yo y me venciste.” Simplemente se quejó de la dureza de su misión. ¡Señor no me dijiste que iba a ser tan difícil como esto! Por supuesto, al principio de su llamado, él resistió a Dios, al hacer excusas: “Señor Dios, verdaderamente no sé cómo hablar. Yo sólo soy un niño.” Sin embargo, Dios insistió que él lo ha escogido desde el vientre de su madre. (Jer 1:4-10).

La resistencia, la sumisión y la prueba de Jeremías, nos dice que nada puede impedir la misión de Dios, ni siquiera nuestra resistencia. Esto es especialmente cuando sus manos están sobre uno. Aunque, Jeremías se resistía, eventualmente se sometió a Dios: “…y me he dejado seducir.” Se conformó con la voluntad de Dios, y ya no estaba a cargo de sí mismo. Más bien, la palabra de Dios ardía como fuego en él, que ya no podía resistir la predicación.

Después de someterse a Dios, eventualmente, el Jeremías que era muy tímido, y no sabía cómo hablar, se transformó. ¡Hay mucho misterio en Dios! Asumimos que nuestra misión debe ser fácil en todo momento. Por desgracia, no es siempre así. Fidelidad a Dios a veces, nos trae pruebas, decepciones e incluso sufrimientos. A veces, nos permite experimentar terribles dolores. Sin embargo, a pesar de todo esto, se nos protege y bendice.

En la segunda lectura, Pablo empleó el lenguaje de la gracia, más que de la ley para implorarnos: “Ofrezcan ustedes como un sacrificio vivo (u ofrenda viva), santo y agradable a Dios.” Aquí, Pablo nos llama a someternos completamente a Dios sin resistencia y reserva. Presentar nuestros cuerpos es someter nuestras facultades, y la totalidad de nuestro ser. Es la rendición total a Dios. Esta rendición total, es esencial para una vida de rectitud, gozo, paz y victoria en Cristo.

Por supuesto, ofrecerse completamente significa aceptar todo lo que viene con ello. En su segunda llamada hoy, Pablo insiste en que debemos ajustarnos a Cristo, más que a este mundo. Es sólo cuando nos hemos ofrecido completamente a Dios, para que podamos ajustarnos a Cristo. La conformidad con Cristo significa vivir como Cristo.

Significa, participar en su vida y muerte, con nuestros ojos fijos en su gloria. Significa que Cristo ahora vive y trabaja en nosotros a través del Espíritu Santo (Gal 2, 20). Esto fue lo que hicieron los santos gloriosos. Ellos sometieron, y se ajustaron a Cristo participando en su vida, muerte y resurrección. Ahora, se participan en su gloria.

En el Evangelio de hoy, vemos la ironía de la vida. El mismo Pedro que proclamaba que Cristo es el Mesías la semana pasada, hoy es reprendido como “Satanás”. Cristo simplemente lo reprendió por ser un obstáculo a su misión. Esto demuestra que, aunque, Pedro profesaba que Cristo es el Mesías (como Dios se lo reveló), sin embargo, él no ha comprendido plenamente la naturaleza de la misión de Cristo.

Todavía lo ve sólo desde la perspectiva de la realeza y la gloria. Por supuesto, estaba ansioso por participar en estos. Esto también nos enseña que, todos somos vulnerables a cometer errores y a caer, no importa cuán espirituales seamos. Por lo tanto, esto nos requiere tomar en serio, la amonestación de Pablo que: “Si alguien piensa que está firme, tenga cuidado de no caer” (1Co 10:12).

Pedro no podía entender por qué Cristo debería estar hablando de esta manera. Sin embargo, el llamado de Dios no sólo se trata, y participa en su gloria, sino que también participar primero en su sufrimiento. Esto es lo que Cristo hizo. Que él se ofreció como un sacrificio vivo, significa que él sometió todo sin reticencia para nuestra salvación. Sin embargo, Pedro no se ha dado cuenta de la necesidad de la muerte de Cristo, “que es más conveniente que un hombre muera por el pueblo, y no que toda la nación perezca (Jn 11:50).

¡La paz sea con ustedes!

¡Maranatha!

Homily for 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Recognizing Christ, The Son Of The Living God

Readings: 1st: Is 22, 19-23; Ps 137, 1-3.6. 8; 2nd: Rom 11, 33-36; Gos: Mt 16, 13-20

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com

 

On this twenty first Sunday, the church enjoins us to recognize and reverence Christ. It is only when we recognize who Christ is, as Peter did, that we can appreciate his greatness. However, this is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the first reading of today, God manifested his power as the sovereign Lord. He dethroned the proud and wicked Shebna, and exalted the humble and faithful Eliakim. In this reading, Eliakim prefigures Christ, the messiah: He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens” (Rev 3: 7). Through his humility, the God gave him all authority both in heaven and on earth. In turn, through His solemn declaration, Christ delegated the same authority to Peter over his church as we see in today’s gospel.

In the second reading, Paul exalts the greatness of God. He contemplates: “How rich are the depths of God, how impossible to penetrate his motive or understand his methods, who could ever know the mind of God?” Surely, as humans, we cannot fathom the wisdom and greatness of God. However, God reveals himself to those who love him, and to whomever he chooses to reveal himself to.

He reveals the depth of his mind to the one who is willing to go extra mile with him, and to the one who is docile to the Spirit of God. So, it is not surprising that he revealed himself in a very special way to his humble servants like Mary, Peter, Paul and other apostles.

He reveals himself to those who seek him in truth, honesty and with a clear conscience. He has revealed himself fully to us in Jesus Christ. Hence, only those who allow the eyes of their mind to be illumined by the Holy Spirit can comprehend the depths of God’s motive.

Today’s gospel begins in a very dramatic and interesting way. Jesus was aware of the confusion about his personality and mission. So, He decided to know what his disciples think about him: “Who do people say I am…You, who do you say I am?” From the response of some of them, it was obvious that they had no clear idea of who Christ was.

Peter came to their rescue. “You are the Christ, the son of the living God!” This is the answer to the “messianic secret” (Mk 1: 43-35). How did Peter know this? Simple! God himself revealed it to him through the Holy Spirit as Jesus affirmed.

The response of Peter, provoked a very important declaration from Christ, similar to the one in our first reading. The keys were given to Peter as a sign of his apostolic and ministerial authority over the entire church of Christ. This became possible because he recognized Christ. So, Christ was not wrong by making him the head of his earthly church. This is the position he occupies till today through the apostolic succession of the Popes.

If Christ were to ask us the same question today, “who do you say I am”? What would be our response? We cannot comprehend who Christ is unless we have an intimate relationship with him. Again, and most importantly, we cannot respond fully to this question unless we are docile to the Holy Spirit who reveals the depth of God’s mind to us.

Finally, only believers who recognize who Christ is, have a special place in him. Therefore, our greatest desire every day should be: “To know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and to share in his suffering, by becoming like him in his death” (Phil 3:10).

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!

 

Homilia Para Vigesimoprimer Domingo Del Tiempo Ordinario, Año A

Reconociendo A Cristo, El Hijo De Dios Vivo

Lecturas: 1ra: Is 22: 19-23; Sal: 137, 1-3.6. 8; 2da: Rom 11:33-36; Ev: Mt 16:13-20

Esta breve reflexión fue escrita por el Reverendo Padre Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. Él es un sacerdote católico y un miembro de la Congregación de los Padres y Hermanos del Espíritu Santo (Espirítanos). Él está trabajando con el Grupo Internacional Espirítano De Puerto Rico y República Dominicana. Él es el administrador de la Parroquia La Resurrección del Señor, Canóvanas y el Canciller de la Diócesis de Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. Para más detalles y comentarios se puede contactarlo en: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

En este vigésimo primer domingo, la Iglesia nos une para reconocer y reverenciar a Cristo. Es sólo cuando reconocemos quién es Cristo, como lo hizo Pedro, que podamos apreciar su grandeza. Sin embargo, esto sólo es posible a través del poder del Espíritu Santo.

En la primera lectura de hoy, Dios manifestó su poder como el Señor Soberano. Destronaba a los orgullosos y malvados Sebna, y exaltaba al humilde y fiel Eliakim. En esta lectura, Eliakim prefigura a Cristo, el Mesías: “El que tiene la llave de David, el que abre y nadie cierra, y se cierra y nadie se abre “(Ap 3:7). A través de su humildad, Dios le dio toda la autoridad tanto en el cielo como en la tierra. A su vez, a través de su declaración solemne, Cristo delegó la misma autoridad a Pedro sobre su iglesia en el Evangelio de hoy.

En la segunda lectura, Pablo exalta la grandeza de Dios. Él contempla: “¡Qué inmensa y rica es la sabiduría de Dios! ¿Que impenetrable son sus designios…Quien ha conocido jamás el pensamiento del Señor o ha llegado a ser su consejero?” Seguramente, como humanos, no podemos comprender la sabiduría y la grandeza de Dios. Sin embargo, Dios se revela a los que lo aman, y a quien él decida revelarse a sí mismo.

Él revela la profundidad de su mente a aquel que está dispuesto a ir más allá con él, y a aquel que es dócil al espíritu de Dios. Por lo tanto, no es de extrañar que él se reveló de una manera muy especial a sus siervos humildes como María, Pedro, Pablo y otros apóstoles.

Se revela a los que le buscan en la verdad, honestidad y con una conciencia clara. Él se ha revelado completamente a nosotros en Jesucristo. Por lo tanto, sólo aquellos que permiten que los ojos de su mente sean iluminados por el Espíritu Santo pueden comprender las profundidades del motivo de Dios.

El Evangelio de hoy comienza de una manera muy dramática e interesante. Jesús era consciente de la confusión sobre su personalidad y misión. Por lo tanto, él decidió saber lo que sus discípulos piensan de él: “¿Quién dice la gente que es el hijo del hombre?” ¿Y ustedes, quien dicen que soy? De la respuesta de algunos de ellos, era obvio que no tenían una idea clara de quién era Cristo. Pedro vino a su rescate. “¡Tú eres el Mesías, el hijo del Dios vivo!” Esta es la respuesta al “secreto mesiánico” (MK 1:43-35). ¿Cómo lo supo Pedro? ¡Simple! Dios mismo lo reveló a él a través del Espíritu Santo como Jesús afirmó.

La respuesta de Pedro, provocó una declaración muy importante de Cristo, similar a la de nuestra primera lectura. Las llaves fueron dadas a Pedro como un signo de su autoridad apostólica y ministerial sobre toda la iglesia de Cristo. Esto se hizo posible porque reconoció a Cristo. Así que, Cristo no se equivocó haciéndole la cabeza de su iglesia terrenal. Esta es la posición que Pedro ocupa hasta hoy a través de la sucesión apostólica de los papas.

Si Cristo nos ponga la misma pregunta hoy, “¿quién dices que soy?” ¿Qué sería nuestra respuesta? No podemos comprender quién es Cristo a menos que tengamos una relación íntima con él. Una vez más, y lo más importante, no podemos responder plenamente a esta pregunta a menos que seamos dóciles al Espíritu Santo que nos revela la profundidad de la mente de Dios para nosotros.

 Finalmente, sólo los creyentes que reconocen quién es Cristo, tienen un lugar especial en él. Por lo tanto, nuestro mayor deseo cada día debe ser: “Conocer a Cristo, experimentar el poder que se manifestó en su resurrección, participar en sus sufrimientos y llegar a ser semejante a él en su muerte” (Phil 3:10).

 ¡La paz sea con ustedes!

 ¡Maranatha!

Homily For 20th Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year A

God’s Mercy Reaches All Nations

Readings: 1st: Is 53, 1. 6-7; Ps 66, 2-3. 5-6; 2nd: Rom 11, 13-15. 29-32; Gos: Mt 15, 21-28

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com

 

On this twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Church draws our attention to God’s invitation and mercy to entire humanity. God’s invitation and mercy is without borders. This means, we all have equal opportunities to it through our response of faith.

In the first reading, God promises to bring all nations together. This is the expansion and extension of His project of salvation towards all nations of the earth. First, this project began with and was for Israel, “God’s first born” (Ex 2, 22). Now, out of his mercy, God extends it to all others nations of the earth.

This is a demonstration of his mercy for all nations, who through faith will respond to his invitation. So, God promises that He will bring even foreigners to his house: “These, I will bring to my holy mountain. I will make them joyful in my house.” However, this promise is based on one condition. “They have attached themselves to the Lord, in order to love him, and to serve him.”

In the second reading, Paul also strikes on the same chord as Isaiah did. It suffices to note that when Paul says, “Mercy to all, he is not saying that God will save everyone. Rather, that His mercy is available to all those who will respond accordingly to his invitation. For, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2: 21).

So, Paul demonstrates his confidence in God’s mercy. He insists that, although, some have rejected God as Israel (the covenant people) did, God himself has not rejected or forgotten them. This is because, “God never takes back his gifts or revokes his choice.” He is true and faithful to his word and promise.

Hence, Paul reminds us that God has not forgotten his chosen people even though they disobeyed Him. No, God does not give up an anyone, even those who rejected him. Rather, He continues to wait to all. Paul warns us not to be proud or unmerciful to others because of the mercy we have received from Christ. This is because, our situation has nothing to do with merits. Rather, we are who we are, through the mercy and kindness of God.

Today’s gospel goes further to illustrate the universality of God’s mercy. However, that Jesus was initially hesitant to listen to the woman, perhaps could have been to test her faith. In order words, in spite of the fact that God is ready to show us mercy, he requires something from us: “faith as small as the mustard seed” (Mt 17: 20). A very important requirement for receiving this mercy is the amount of faith we demonstrate in Jesus Christ.  

The woman demonstrated her faith in Christ. Of course, Christ showed her mercy by healing her daughter. Her persistence is also worth emulating. In spite of all odds, and what looked like Jesus’ refusal to answer her, she did not give up. So, like this Canaanite woman, each and every one is in need of God’s mercy. All we need do, is to demonstrate our faith in Christ and, he will show us his mercy.

Today, Jesus is close to us. So, like this woman, we must cry out to Him: “Son of David, take pity on me.”

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!

Homilia Para El Vigésimo Domingo Del Tiempo Ordinario, Año A

La Misericordia De Dios Alcance Todas Naciones  

Lecturas: 1ra: Is 53, 1. 6-7; Sal: 66; 2da: Rom 11, 13-15. 29-32; Ev: Mt 15, 21-28

Esta breve reflexión fue escrita por el Reverendo Padre Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. Él es un sacerdote católico y un miembro de la Congregación de los Padres y Hermanos del Espíritu Santo (Espirítanos). Él está trabajando con el Grupo Internacional Espirítano De Puerto Rico y República Dominicana. Él es el administrador de la Parroquia La Resurrección del Señor, Canóvanas y el Canciller de la Diócesis de Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. Para más detalles y comentarios se puede contactarlo encanice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

En este vigésimo Domingo del tiempo ordinario, la iglesia llama nuestra atención a la invitación y misericordia de Dios a toda la humanidad. La invitación y la misericordia de Dios es sin fronteras. Esto significa que todos tenemos igualdad de oportunidades a través de nuestra respuesta de fe.

En la primera lectura, Dios promete unir a todas las naciones. Esta es la expansión y extensión de su proyecto de salvación hacia todas las naciones de la tierra. Primero, este proyecto comenzó con, y fue para Israel, “el primogénito de Dios” (Ex 2, 22). Ahora, debido a su misericordia, Dios lo extiende a todas las demás naciones de la tierra.

Esta es una demostración de su misericordia para todas las naciones, que a través de la fe responderá a su invitación. Así que, Dios promete que él traerá incluso extranjeros a su casa: “Estos, traeré a mi montaña santa.” Voy a hacerlos felices en mi casa.” Sin embargo, esta promesa se basa en una condición. “Se han adherido al Señor, para amarlo, servirle y darle culto.”

En la segunda lectura, Pablo también toca el mismo acorde como hizo Isaías. Es suficiente notar que cuando Pablo dice: “misericordia a todos”, no está diciendo que Dios salvará a todos. Más bien, que su misericordia está a disposición de todos los que responderán en consecuencia a su invitación. Porque, “Quienquiera que invoca el nombre del Señor, será salvado” (Hch 2:21).

Así, Pablo demuestra su confianza en la misericordia de Dios. Insiste en que, aunque algunos han rechazado a Dios como lo hizo Israel (el pueblo de la alianza), Dios mismo no los rechazó ni los olvidó. Esto es porque, “Dios no se arrepiente de sus dones ni de su elección.” Él es verdadero y fiel a su palabra y promesa.

Por lo tanto, Pablo nos recuerda que Dios no ha olvidado a su pueblo elegido a pesar de que lo desobedecieron. No, Dios no renuncia a nadie, ni siquiera a los que lo rechazaron. Más bien, sigue esperando a todos. Pablo nos advierte que no debemos ser orgullosos o hacen faltan de misericordia a los demás por la misericordia que hemos recibido de Cristo. Esto es porque nuestra situación no tiene nada que ver con los méritos. Más bien, somos quienes somos, a través de la misericordia y la bondad de Dios.

El Evangelio de hoy va más allá para ilustrar la universalidad de la misericordia de Dios. Sin embargo, que Jesús estaba inicialmente indeciso a escuchar a la mujer, tal vez podría haber sido para poner a prueba su fe. En palabras de orden, a pesar del hecho de que Dios está listo para mostrarnos misericordia, él requiere algo de nosotros: “la fe tan pequeña como la semilla de mostaza” (Mt 17:20). Un requisito muy importante para recibir esta misericordia es la cantidad de fe que demostramos en Jesucristo.

 La de mujer de cananea demostró su fe en Cristo. Por supuesto, Cristo le mostró su misericordia por curar su hija. Su persistencia también vale la pena emular. A pesar de todas las probabilidades, y lo que parecía como el rechazo de Jesús a responder a ella, ella no se cansó o desanimado de pedirle a Cristo. Así que, como esta mujer cananea, todos y cada uno de nosotros necesita la misericordia de Dios. Todo lo que necesitamos hacer es demostrar nuestra fe en Cristo y él nos mostrará su misericordia.

Hoy, Jesús está cerca de nosotros. Así que, como esta mujer, debemos clamar a Él: “Hijo de David, ten piedad de mí.”

¡La paz sea con ustedes!

¡Maranatha!

Homily For 19th Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year A

Jesus Our Saviour, Restores Our Peace

Readings: 1st: I Kg 19, 9. 11-13; Ps 84, 9-14; 2nd: Rom 9, 1-5; Gos: Mt 14, 22-33

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com

 

On this nineteenth Sunday of ordinary time, the Church joyfully reminds us that Jesus our Saviour is always close to us. He calms the storms of our life. He lifts us from the depths, and restores our peace. The presence of the storm, and all that it represents definitely make us confused, and afraid in life. Thus, it equally deprives us of our peace.

There is something interesting about today’s readings. This is simply the fact that, all the three great figures and personalities (Elijah, Paul, and Peter) we encountered in today’s readings were in one way or the other embattled. As such, their peace was threatened.

First, Elijah was fearful, and running away from Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel, who wanted him dead at all cost. Second, Paul was ravaged by sorrow and anguish due to the unbelief of his “fellow brothers of Israel.” This was a great burden that threatened his peace of mind. Third, Peter was sinking right in front of Jesus, due to fear, his lack of faith and courage. This is the dilemma of our lives. In one way or the other, our peace is threatened.

In the first reading, the embattled prophet Elijah encountered God, and his peace was restored. A very significant lesson for us in this reading is that, when we are internally calm and away from the distractions of life, we hear God speak to us. To say that God spoke to Elijah after the gentle breeze, is simply to say that Elijah experienced peace of mind.

God came at the appropriate time, not in the mighty wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire, but after a gentle breeze. So, contrary to what some of us think, God speaks to us when we are internally recollected and calm. Often times, we seek God with distracted minds. In such a state, we may not encounter Him. It is when we are recollected, that we hear him speak to us.

In the second reading, Paul expresses his grief for his people (fellow Jews). This was because, they rejected the good news. His sadness and grief was so great that he lamented: “I will willingly be condemned, if it could help my brothers.” In order words, he was not at peace because of their situation.

Therefore, Paul teaches us that we must not always think about ourselves alone. Rather, we should equally be concerned about the welfare, salvation and peace of others. It is through this, that we derive our own inner peace. When others are not saved, our peace is guaranteed.

In today’s gospel, the disciples of Jesus experienced the storm of their life, and Jesus was available to calm it, and equally, restore their peace. “Storms” are part and parcel of our human existence. They are inevitable in this world, just as the waves are inevitable in the sea, and death is inevitable to us.

Sometimes, they hit us so hard that we are crushed, devastated, and almost annihilated. Like the disciples of Jesus, each one of us experience the storm in diverse ways in our lives. That is, the storm that robs us of our peace. However, when they encounter Christ, our peace is restored and they disappear. Hence, Paul wrote: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed, always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies (2 Cor 4: 8-9).

Finally, as Christ said to Peter, so he also says to us today: “Courage! Do not be afraid, it is I.” So, all we need to do is to trust Him, and keep walking without the fear of sinking. Like Peter, we must step out with faith and courage against the storms of our life. Therefore, let us hold on firmly to Jesus, who calms our storms and restores our peace.

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!