Homily - 10th Sunday OT Year C - We have been Rescued!

Homily (Sermon) - We have been Rescued

The Readings for the tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Old 1 Kings 17:17-24
Psalm Psalm 29
New Galatians 1:11-19
Gospel Luke 7:11-17
[These readings can be found at www.universalis.com for the next few weeks.]

“I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me”

Around 850 years before Jesus was born the nation of Israel was led by a King called Ahab. Ahab wasn’t the best of Israel Kings and he made a few mistakes, one of the mistakes he made was marrying a young lady called Jezebel. Jezebel was a powerful lady and quickly influenced the Kings policies. During the reign of King Ahab the people were allowed and encouraged to build temples to the false god Baal.

God wasn’t happy with the way his people were being led and really not happy about them worshiping false Gods. So God spoke to Elijah and told him to go to the King, to tell him there was going to be a great drought because of his actions. Ahab wasn’t happy to hear this from Elijah and God told Elijah to go and hide.

Elijah’s first hiding place was out in the country side next to a brook. As the drought took hold, the brook quickly dried up. God then sent Elijah on to the land of Sidon. “I have designated a widow for you there, to provide for you.” God told him.

This is the background to our old testament readying today. Elijah had been staying with the widow for over a year when her son fell ill. The loss of her only son would have been a terrible loss. Not only the loss of her closest family, but also of most of her rights in society. With no husband and no son she would have been reliant on the charity of other for food and shelter.

Elijah then takes the boy’s corpse and pleads to God to bring the boy back to his mother, Elijah prays, “O Lord my God, do you mean to bring grief to the widow who is looking after me by killing her son?” God listens to Elijah and the boy is returned to life and Elijah gives him back to his mother.

This is a very similar story to the one we hear about in the Gospel reading today. Jesus arrives in a small town just as a funeral procession is leaving a widows house. Her son is dead and she follows behind crying.

Jesus is moved by what he sees. He speaks softly to the widow, “Do not cry.” He tells her. Then stopping the procession he says “Young Man. I tell you to get up.”  At this the dead man sits up and starts walking. Then just as Elijah had, Jesus gives the boy to his mother.

The similarities are oblivious. The connection to the prophet Elijah is clear, and the people proclaim Jesus as a great prophet just as Elijah was. But this they got wrong.

Have any of you noticed the difference between the two stories?

The difference is the words of Elijah and the words of Jesus.

Elijah’s words are the words of a prophet, the words of a believer, begging his Loving God to directly intervene of the world.

Jesus’s words are not to God, but from God. They are the words of God himself. They are the words of the Christ. Jesus didn’t pray to His father, he took the authority he had been given and used it. He just gave the young man an instruction, “I tell you tell get up.”

We see here a very clear and beautiful picture in the incarnation. Our Lord and God walking on the face of the earth just as we do. He is a kind and compassionate God, full of love. He is also very aware that the scholars would compare this miracle to Elijah’s and those whose hearts were open to Him would see and understand the differences.

Later when John the Baptist’s disciples came to Christ asking who he was, this was one of the examples quoted to them. It a clear statement to them and to John, that Jesus is the Christ, he is the son of God.

The question for today though is what does this mean to us?

What are we going to take away from today?

What are we going to think about this next week?

In today’s two stories both widows are saved by God. Their life, as well as the life of their sons is given back to them. They are redeemed.

Jesus came to us for a reason. He came to redeem us all. He did that by dying on the cross. The ultimate sacrifice for Sin, the last sacrifice for Sin, the only sacrifice that could be offered for the sins of everyone, for all time. He was the sacrifice.

And because of Him, because God, your creator, loves you enough to die for you, you are redeemed. You are saved. You are rescued.

Today I want you to take the message of redemption and rescue away with you. I want you to put yourself in the place of the widow, I want you to consider what Jesus has done for you. Then I want you to express your feelings about that to God. If you don’t think you know how to do that, then take a look again at today’s psalm.

It starts, “I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me” and finishes, “O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever.” It your choice, either pray the whole psalm or jut insert your own feelings in between those lines.

“O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever.”

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