HOMILY FOR THE 3RD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
Ps. 25:4-5ab.6.7bc.8-9 (R. 4a)
Lord, make me know your ways.
May your word direct me to your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me to follow you always.
Oh Holy Spirit inspire in me and incline me to your ways. Amen.
THEME: THE WAYS OF THE LORD ARE NOT OUR WAYS
Sometimes it is difficult to understand the ways of the Lord. Sometimes it might be very tiring and tasking. It requires attentiveness and willingness to be by the Lord despite the challenges. It can make you cry yet it is always for the best. It is always for the good of the people of God.
I am most certain that when God appointed Jonah to go to the people of Nineveh, he didn’t find it funny. He was reluctant for several reason namely;
The truth is that with God and in God there is nothing like meaninglessness because he draws great meaning from even the most insignificant things of Life. As human Jonah concluded the case of the people but God saw a window of opportunity for the salvation. A warning would suffice to change them. But Jonah hesitated.
The Lord sent a storm which threatened the lives of everyone on board, they cast lot and it fell on him, he said throw me into the sea so that others might be saved. As soon as he was thrown into the sea, calmness returned to the ship.
God had arranged for a big whale to take him to the shores of Nineveh. Jonah stayed in the belle of the whale for three days. This is very symbolic on the following grounds.
In biblical tradition, the sea is seen as a place of elements hostile to man-things that only God can control. It is likened to Sheol, the domain of death from which none can return.
But God is greater than any created reality so the experience of Jonah in the belly of the whale also symbolised the death of Jesus of course death had no power over Jesus. Sheol the kingdom of death could hold Christ in its grip for more than three days. After the third day, Christ rose from the dead to show forth that God is mightier than death.
Jonah staying in the belly of the whale also signified that God who allowed him to stay in the belly of the whale for three days would not allow Jonah die in there but had plans to restore him, to save him and to take him on that mission. This was the deliberate plan of the Lord.
The waters of baptism purify us and remove everything of the past especially original sin. So the waters of the sea purified Jonah and made him feet for the mission. It purged him of the disobedience to go on that mission. Baptism in a mysterious way strips the body of its past sins.
It would ordinary take 3 days to cross Nineveh, but Jonah went on only days’ journey and the people got converted. Grace was working. Anointing for that assignment was in place and it was very effective.
Dear friends, there is no mission that the Lord gives that is not tailored, guided and empowered by the Lord. Once it is a mission from the Lord, the presence of the Lord will always go with you.
So dear friends, it’s a New Year with lots of promises and new beginnings, let us rely on the help of the Lord to guide us in all we do. Let us seek his face before we embark on any project or assignment. Let us consult him and ask him for the grace, strength, peace and serenity as you embark on a new mission and a new assignment.
The psalmist of today concludes it when it says-Lord, make me know your ways. This should be our prayers every day, every time and every minute. There are ways we consider right for us that is not at rights with God. There are situations we want for ourselves but God wants it the other way because he is an intentional God and whatever he does works for our God.
The only way to peace in this our world filled with so much confusion is to ask for the Lord’s direction. Seek his face and believe in his promises and you will be firmly established. We cannot live our lives as though God were not real. God is real and he who follows the Lord will always find fulfilment in all that he does.
I pray that God’s guidance and presence may follow us as we go and let us forth to do his will all the days of our lives, we ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.