This week's preaching sponsored by Sarah Probst Miller with the intention So our church may open her heart to the horizon and clothe herself with compassion.
On this fifth Sunday in Ordinary time and this first Sunday of Black History Month, a time to remember and educate others on the contributions of Black people to the world and perseverance of Black people, those hidden figures left out of the history books.
In our Old Testament text, we see Job having a “pity party” and lamenting about his suffering and God’s silence when Job was expecting answers and comfort. Job is one of those books you must read the entire book in order the really glean the profound foundational lessons when faced with our own suffering.
The first lesson, God is Sovereign. In other words, God is in control. During suffering, we must remember that God is all knowing, and God hears our cries. There is an Adinkra symbol from our ancestors in Ghana, Gye Nyame, which means “Except God. It expresses the omnipotence and supremacy of God. It is the faith of an African people who see God’s involvement in every aspect of human life.
The second lesson is we must trust God when we cannot trace God. 2 Corinthians 5:7 it tells us to walk by faith and not by sight. We too have had some the same questions as Job when we are going through trails and tribulations, “Why me God” and “How long, Oh Lord.” Job could not see what we see in the first two chapters of the book of Job. God approved Job’s suffering because God trusted Job to be a faithful servant of God. Black people have endured suffering for over 400 years of racism. The events over the last 4 years have moved racism from covert to overt and we learned that racism is in the DNA of America. On January 6th we watched in horror the insurrectionists act of Trump and his supporters. The world saw white privilege in action. If this were a Black Life Matter protest the response by the police and outcome would have been hugely different and not in a good way. As people of faith, we should not put our trust in people, the government, or any other entities. We cannot lean on our own understanding as to why God is letting this chaos and suffering happen, but we put our trust wholly in God.
Third, we see God’s character as a loving and righteous God despite evil and injustice that exists in the world. As we go through the book of Job we see Job through the lens of his pain. He got glimpses of God and God’s work beyond what he could see. Job saw God as Redeemer, “I know that my redeemer lives, and in the end, he will stand on the earth” (Job 19:25). He also saw God as Mediator, Friend, Guide, Advocate and the Perfecter of faith.
It is easy to praise God when everything is right in our world. The true test of our praise is to be able to praise God when we are in dark and painful situations. In Psalm 147:1, “Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”
We who preach the Gospel must not preach a watered-down Gospel to make people feel comfortable in their indifferences to those seen as the “least” of these in society or their hatred of people who are not like them.
In today’s Gospel of Mark, Jesus did not need a press release nor an endorsement from the forces of evil. His actions (teaching and works) would show that He was the Son of God. Jesus knew his primary purpose was to preach the Gospel rather than to perform miracles. Our actions as Christians should show people who we are and whose we are. Our actions should lead others to Christ. St. Francis of Assisi says, “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” Our lived lives are our sermons. We are the only bible some people will read.
Paul in Romans 1:16, states, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.
In this time of the pandemic of COVID, the pandemic of violence, the pandemic of police brutality, the pandemic of injustice and racism, the pandemic of poverty and food insecurity, the pandemic of poor educational systems, let us remember that through our Baptism, we are called into missionary discipleship to evangelize and preach the unadulterated Gospel of Christ in season and out of season, when convenient and inconvenient.
On this eve of the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese-born former slave who became a Canossian Religious Sister in Italy, living and working there for 45 years. In her biography she notes one particularly terrifying moment when one of her masters cut her 114 times and poured salt in her wounds to ensure that the scars remained. She was known for her smile, gentleness, and holiness. She even went on record saying, “If I were to meet the slave-traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and Religious today.”
Today, let us ask for St. Josephine Bakhita to intercede for those enslaved, for those are experiencing hardship and suffering. To provide comfort and healing to a tumultuous world as we continue to move through 2021.
In 2000, Kimberly Lymore decided to leave Corporate America and pursue full-time ministry. Kimberly is a member of The Faith Community of St. Sabina since 1983. She was appointed the full-time Pastoral Associate at The Faith Community of St. Sabina by the Rev. Michael L. Pfleger on September 1, 2000.
Kimberly is responsible for all the sacramental preparation of the children and adults. She is the team leader for Eucharistic Ministers and is on the preaching rotation for the 8:30 service. She is currently the Associate Convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium, as well as being the Director of the Augustus Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program at Catholic Theological Union (CTU).
Kimberly Lymore received her Masters of Divinity with a concentration in Word from CTU and she received her Doctor of Ministry from McCormick Theological Union. Her thesis article was titled, “God Doesn’t Tilt: Making the Connection Between Worship and Justice.” Her goal is to be obedient to the plan God has for her life and obedient to his Word.
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