21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
MAKE A DECISION EITHER TO SERVE GOD OR NOT
God did all He could to settle the people of Israel in a foreign land that included the defeat of their enemies. He gave them land flowing with milk and honey and demanded nothing in return except their fidelity to the covenant promises. The people abandoned God and resorted to the worship of pagan gods that 'have mouths but say nothing, have eyes but see nothing, have ears and hear nothing, have noses but smell nothing. They have hands but cannot feel, have feet but cannot walk, no sound comes from their throats'' Ps115:5-7 These the Psalmist maintained are works of human hands and their makers will be like them. Some of us have been blessed by God and placed in a foreign land to enjoy the good things and shun the bad things of this place. But some of us have allowed ourselves to be polluted by the idolatrous lives of those we live in their midst. We now behave like pagans, by relying on divination, prophecy, visions, fortune-telling, etc. How many of us will speak like Joshua: 'As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord' and be committed to living true Christian lives as we were taught and uphold the great values we learned back home. Think of those little but serious things we do in the church [chewing gums, answering phones, immodest dressing, noise-making, lack of sense of sacred, living together without church-marriage, no confessions, etc.] We can be faithful to God and in the same way be faithful to our husbands and wives, respecting each other with love and care. The love between Christ and his Church should serve as a model for husband and wife. The Jews said to Christ, 'this saying is hard and stopped following Him because He said that 'He is the bread of life that came down from heaven and the bread is his flesh for them to eat and have eternal life.’ What doctrines and teachings of the Church are hard that you complain of and stopped following. Faithful Christians would stick with Christ like the disciples at all times. God help us in this distressing time.
BY REV. FR. STEPHEN OKEKE