Homily,26th Sunday in the Ordinary Time, Year B

The Ways of God

  • Numbers 11:25-29; Psalm 18:8,10,12-14; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-43,45,47-48

It is many times difficult to understand the ways of God when juxtaposed with the ways of men. Our mode of operation differs so much and many times opposed to God’s mode of operation.

In the first reading Numbers 11:25-29, seventy men were chosen who would aid to lessen Moses’ burden as a jugde over the people of Israel, who shall receive God’s spirit in order to adjudicate well like Moses but two were absent.

The sixty-eight elders present prophesied as a sign of God’s indwelling spirit on them.

But what of the remaining two?

Here begins the sharp contrast between God’s ways and men’s ways.

For, Joshua son of Nun, and another young man, these remaining two who were not in the tent of meeting, should not prophesy. Thus, “the young man ran to tell this to Moses, ‘Look,’ he said ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ Then said Joshua the son of Nun, who had served Moses from his youth, ‘My Lord Moses, stop them!”

The tent of meeting signifies the presence of God among Israel. So, it may seem logical in faith and reasoning of the Israelites that those outside God’s presence, should not do what those within His presence do.

Nevertheless, in the ways of God, He is everywhere and therefore, His presence; spiritual presence. Hence, since it has been ordained that Eldad and Medad be among the seventy, God’s presence, spiritual presence covers them too.

More on the ways of men.

In the second reading James 5:1-6, there is a pure depiction of the ways of men and how God’s ways punish men’s ways.

The rich became so at the expense of the poor, such that the poor become poorer and the rich, richer: “labourers mowed your fields, and you cheated them.”

The same rich butcher the poor innocent without resistance: “was you who condemned the innocent and killed them.”

But the ways of God overtook them such that their wealth is all rotting, their clothes are all eaten up by moths. All their gold and their silver are corroding away, and the same corrosion will be their own sentence, and eat into their own body.

In the Gospel Mark 9:38-43,45,47-48, the ways of God is made explicit in Jesus, who is the perfect image of God, because to have seen him is to have seen God.

Akin to what happened in Numbers 11:25-29, John was of the opinion that those who were casting out devils in Jesus’ were outside of them; not one of them, therefore should be stopped. But, Jesus reminds them what it should be in the ways of God: “You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.”

This points to a spiritual belonging but John understood it more in the physical sense. Hence, Jesus invariably tells them that you must be spiritually aligned with him in order to walk in hIs ways. The Ways of God are of the spirit and not physical.

Jesus’ delineates other ways of God, of the spirit:

°charity to another because of Him(God) shall never be unrewarded, because that you do unto him.

°being an obstacle, a stone of stumble, a scandal in it’s proper sense to any Christian faith shall be liable to divine judgement.

°with the analogy of the eyes, hands, and feet, one should avoid everything material that could deter one’s salvation. The one eye, one hand, and one foot, could be a friend, a car, business, various riches, etc. It’s better not to have these in full than to loose salvation because of having them in full.

Child of God, looking into the ways of God and following them, one possesses the peace that nothing quenches.

Indeed, following the ways of God, one can say that the precepts of the Lord gladden the heart.

May we ask the Lord to gives us the grace in this mass to accept the ways of God, this truth and that he may consecrates us in the truth for those who shall worship Him shall do so in spirit and truth.

©Fr. Henry Charles N. Umelechi


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