THE LORD WILL WIPE AWAY YOUR TEARS HOMILY FOR THE 28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

John Thuo, a homeless street beggar from Nairobi, Kenya, was doing his usual rounds of begging for alms from cars on a busy street when he saw a woman on a mask connected to an oxygen concentrator. He could not understand why she had to be clad in the device with cylinders in the car. She explained to the beggar that she could only survive by using the oxygen concentrator as she had collapsed lungs that had not improved after twelve surgeries and a ruptured optical nerve that made her lose her sight. She had a booking for a surgery in India, but she had no means of raising the Seven Million Kenyan Shilling to take care of the expenses.

Instantly, John was moved to tears as he holds the woman’s hands and prays that she gets better. He did not stop at that; he even reached out to his pockets and donated all the money he made to the woman. A passer-by who saw John crying and talking to the sick woman decided to record the event and shared it on social media.

After a few days, people responded massively to support the woman, Gladys Kamande. She even got up to Eight Million Kenyan Shillings and made it to India where she had a successful surgery. That was not all; she got her sight back! What about John Thuo? His compassionate tears for the condition of the woman also changed his life as someone adopted him and took him off the streets. Now he has a home and could go to school. The story tells us about the transforming power of tears!

We are all conversant with tears because we shed them at various times and under certain conditions. It might serve as an information purpose to know a little bit about tears. According to ophthalmology, which studies the medical conditions of the eye, tears are therapeutic liquids produced by the lacrimal gland.

Furthermore, three types of tears correspond to the three reasons the human eyes produce tears. We have the basal tears that are continuously released in tiny quantities to lubricate the cornea and promote good vision. There are also the reflex tears that are triggered when foreign particles irritate the eye like vapors from onions or specs of dust. They also come from actions like yawning or vigorous coughing or vomiting.

Finally, there are emotional tears that arise from crying or weeping due to emotions of pain, sadness, depression, or even extreme happiness and excitement. Our opening story tells us about an instance of emotional tears transiting from despair to utmost joy.

There Is No Life Without Tears

The First Reading (Isaiah 25:6-10a) tells us that the Lord is preparing a banquet of rich food on an unnamed mountain where there would be, among other things, the wiping away of the tears from every face and the removal of the reproach of God’s people.

Significantly, it is not possible to pass through life without tears. Not tears in the literal sense of the liquid from the lacrimal gland but in the profound sense of going through difficult moments like Gladys and John in our opening story.

Incidentally, high and low moments punctuate the landscapes of life. Even your riches and wealth may not stop you from experiencing some painful moments in the corridors of life; even the rich do cry sometimes. The irony of life is that our challenges differ as we differ in various ways. What makes one cry could make another laugh, and the reverse could also be the case.

Amid our various experiences of tearful moments in our lives, we have good news from God today. Apart from the rich banquet the Lord is preparing on the mountain for everyone, the Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 23) tells us that the Lord would shepherd us through the most gruesome moments and lead us to the verdant pastures. In the Letter of St. Paul to Philippians (4:12-14; 19-20), the apostle tells us, among other things, that the Lord will supply all our needs in accord with His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.   

While we may be going through tearful moments on this journey called life, we still need to think about securing eternal life in heaven where we shall enjoy the endless banquet with the Lord so long as we have the right clothing; that is the wedding garment. Entrance into heaven would be the ultimate wiping away of tears from our eyes. The Book of Revelation (21:4) says that He will wipe out every tear from our eyes, and there shall be no more death, mourning, wailing, or pain for the old order would pass away.

Moving forward, let us repose our trust and confidence in the Lord for everything that concerns us. St. Paul assures us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). Those tears are not forever; the Lord would wipe them away. God bless you!

Fr. Bonnie.  

         

                                      

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