Homily, 29th Sunday in the Ordinary Time, Year B(17/10/2021)


Isaiah 53:10-11
Psalms 33: 4-5. Is 19:20 and 22
Hebrews 4:14-16
Mark 10:35-45

Whenever you hear of redemption what actually comes to your mind? Freedom. Yes, Freedom. May be you owe something for instance and someone pays the debt.

However, if you reject that offer by which someone has paid your debt, that means the payment on your behalf is invalid because you have not freely accepted that offer for it to be effective.

The reading of today dwells on the redemption brought by Christ. Christ is the one who paid for our sins by His suffering, crucifixion, death and resurrection.

We are the ones to freely accept Christ’s suffering on our behalf.

But, how did Christ’s suffering actually redeem those who accepted it. This is explained in the readings.

In the first reading Isaiah 53:10-11, it is a prophecy in waiting fulfilled in theOld Testament like in the Hebrews and in the Gospel of Mark.

Isaiah was prophesying about a suffering servant such that the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. And the will of God is that by his suffering, many shall be made righteous and he shall bear their iniquities.

What does that sound like?

It sounds messiahood and mercy. Yes, mercy for if one stands in place of another to suffer, that one is really messiah and must be a merciful one.

This is the reason why the Psalmist says: “May your merciful love be upon us, as we hope in you, O Lord.”

Now it means that the messiah is the Lord. But who is the Lord? The second reading from Hebrews named him and the gospel expatiates.

In the second reading Hebrew 4:14-16, that Lord is Jesus, the Son of God. And he is called the high priest. Priesthood entails sacrifice, for priests can do without sacrifice. That is the sacrifice he committed himself to in Isaiah’s prophecy.

But in Hebrews, it’s a priest who was able to sympathize with us humans in our weaknesses in every respect except sin. This “in every respect”, is very important because it explains the kind of Lord and messiah we have.

He became human like us, in order to show us the way to live and become like him, to gain freedom like he is free. This includes freedom from sin and it’s consequences; redemption/salvation.

If he didn’t identify with us, it won’t be easy for us to identify with him in the ways of heaven. We can’t walk in his way of righteousness, in the ways of redemption.

It is because he identified with that we can easily accept the redemption or salvation he brought for us. We know therefore that human nature can achieve freedom from sin(fornication, theft, slander, etc.)

The Gospel reading Mark 10:35-45 explains all these more: that the Son of man came to give his life as a ransom for many.

The sons of Zebedee wanted redemption; this freedom of the children of God, And they said to him, “Grant us us to sit, one at the right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” However, they didn’t understand how to go about it, that’s why Jesus told them that they don’t know what they were asking for though they were willing. Neither did other apostles understand, that’s why they became indignant at both James and John.

But, in order to show them the the way to redemption Jesus said that it’s left for those whom it has been prepared.

Who are they?

Jesus plainly throws his words to explain this: …but whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. That’s, who ever must gain redemption must be slave of all.

What kind of slave?

The slave of his kind, the slaves of love, the kind that humbles and identifies with him, and thereby accepts the redemption brought by him. The one that accepts or agrees to serve others, for the Son of man also came not to be serves but to serve, and give his life as a ransom to many.

Therefore, our salvation or redemption comes by accepting Christ’s life, suffering, death and resurrection for us and agreeing to walking with him and in his ways of service to others and the society, the ways love.

Consequently, it is by doing these that the ransom of our sins becomes valid and effective such that whoever comes to him goes away clean no matter the heaviness of his guilt.

Accepting his redemption brings with it the grace and fortitude to conquer sin and worldly troubles of any kind.

Second, when God looks at us the thief, the fornicator, the adulterer, the slanderer, the lesbian, the homosexual, the womanizer, the murderer, the abortionists, the gossiper, etc, He sees not our sins but the suffering Son and servant and His mercy abounds, because we are now standing behind the Son and his suffering covers our sins.

This suffering and ransom is renewed whenever God’s mercy is effected on us. This is our salvation; our redemption.

©Fr. Henry Charles N Umelechi


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