23rd Sunday of the ordinary time

Theme: A selfless life

On this 23rd Sunday of the ordinary time of the year C, our liturgy presents to us wonderful tenets that we need to be true children of God and followers of Christ. In the 2nd reading of today, we see the scenario that plays out itself between St. Paul and Philemon in relation to Onesimus. Although the presence of Onesimus would have been very useful to Paul in prison, he was willing to do the right thing by sending him back to his master and righting the wrong that he did that led to his escape from his master. St. Paul is sending him back to Philemon with the promise of taking care of the damage that Onesimus has done to his master’s property. He did not think about what he stands to gain if he keeps Onesimus to himself, rather he was more concerned about doing what is right and pleasing to God. He did not just send him back; he made a commitment of taking care of the damage.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, this type of selflessness is very necessary and important in our world today. Our world today is in need of People who are willing and ready to go beyond the self for the common good of all. This will go a long way in correcting some of the challenges facing us today in our world. For instance the problem of greed and self-centredness that has led to a few privileged people using what belongs to everyone for themselves and their loved ones. If we must make positive impact in our world today, we must be ready to emulate the teaching and action of St. Paul in today’s 2nd reading, and also take seriously the admonition of Jesus in the gospel reading of today.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus tells us today in the gospel that renouncing everything to follow him is very important, if we truly want to attain salvation at the end of our earthly pilgrimage. By implication, there is no need for self-centredness and greed, because they will not help us to attain salvation at the end of our life here on earth. In view of this dearly beloved in Christ, why are we fighting to acquire the wealth that we do not truly need? It is good to work hard and be comfortable, but not at the expense of others who are co-owners of the wealth you have embezzled for your generations yet unborn. The Lord invites us in a very special way today, to be the shining light through which people will have an encounter with him. We have all it takes to be true Disciples of Christ, if we truly want to make it happen in our lives. With your personal will and the grace of God, it is very possible. My prayer today is that we will strive to be true Disciples of Christ wherever we find ourselves. May almighty God bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.

23rd Sunday of the ordinary time of the year C, by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp