Fr. Ben’s homily for Monday of the 26th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: UNLESS YOU CHANGE!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Monday September 27 2021
* Zech 8 : 1 – 8, Lk 9: 46 – 50.
Change is the greatest principle of holiness. According to John Cardinal Henry Newman, ‘Change is the logic of life. To live is to change and to be holy is to have changed often’. The challenge of spiritual growth is not an easy one. Jesus told Nicodemus : ‘Have you been a Jewish theologian for several years now yet you do not understand what it means to be born again?’ Yes, ‘Change’, according to Vima Dasan, ‘is only the interval between the decay of the old and formation of the new’. Christ poses a big challenge of change for all of us in today’s gospel : ‘Unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of God’. What are these spiritual qualities found in the character of little children?
1. SIMPLICITY ; This is the quality of detachment from worldly ambitions and its corollary virtue is the virtue of docility that makes children receive and learn new ideas, new language and new culture no matter where they are placed. They simply become whatever their parents and environment input on them. The opposite is covetousness and stubbornness. If we become like little children to God, his grace makes us automatically holy like him.
2. HUMILITY ; This is the quality of self effacement. Its opposite is pride /egotism. Little children don’t puff up themselves. They don’t feel hurt when they are corrected. They don’t carry grievances even when they quarrel with you just because their ego is simply low – the pride hasn’t built up as in adults. Christ wants us to imitate them in humility. St Paul says that ‘although he was in the form of God, Jesus did not count equality with God… He emptied himself…’, Phil 2 : 5 – 10.
3. INNOCENCE ; The greatest quality of little children is their innocence – their lack of knowledge of evil and sin. A man once told his 2 year old daughter to tell a visitor that he is not around. The child innocently said : ‘My Daddy told me to tell you that he is not around’. That is little children for you! When they learn how to tell lies then they are no longer ‘little children’. Jesus says in today’s gospel that their Guardian Angels will always be with them. He warns us against corrupting them, Matt 20 : 7. When we fight against covetousness, pride and corruption, we remain /change to become again like little children. According to St Augustine, ‘It was pride that changed angels into devils ; it is humility that makes men as angels’. May God bless you today!