FRIDAY HOMILY OF 13TH WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME – YEAR B




FRIDAY HOMILY OF 13TH WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME – YEAR B

HOMILY THEME: INSTEAD OF POINTING FINGERS, LOOK INWARDS

BY: Fr. Evaristus E. Abu

Amos 8:4-6, 9-12; Psalm 118(119):2, 20, 30, 40, 50, 131; Matthew 9:9-13

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’” (Matthew 9:12-13)

The famous Martin Luther dreamed that one day, his children would not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. The Good News for us today is that God does not judge us by our skin colour but by our hearts’ content and our potential for good. Many wrote Matthew off as a sinner because of his job, but Jesus saw one with the potential for so much good in Matthew.

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– By merely accepting to collect tax on behalf of the Romans, Matthew was being a traitor to a people whose allegiance was to God and not the Roman colonialists. Also, it was common for the tax collectors to charge more than appropriate, thereby eating from both sides and enriching themselves. It is quite touching that Matthew willingly gave up everything upon hearing the words: “Follow me.” Matthew did what the rich young man was unwilling to do; he left his lucrative job to become an evangelist. Zachariah and Peter, the fisherman, did the same thing. Jesus said: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34). Since I became a Christian, have I left anything behind?

– The irony is that while Matthew willingly embraced a new life with Christ, many who openly condemned him remained in their old lives. Jesus said: “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Am I the kind of ‘righteous’ person Jesus was referring to? If I was in Matthew’s shoes, would I have done better? Do I recognise (or admit) that I need a physician? If I consider myself perfect, I indirectly say I don’t need Jesus. Pride goes before a fall.

– By agreeing to dine with Matthew and his friends, Jesus employed the wisdom in the saying: “Honey catches more flies than vinegar.” To the Pharisees and scribes, Jesus was quite harsh and direct; He called them hypocrites to their faces. However, to Matthew and his friends, Jesus was soft and lenient. Jesus preached not with words but with His presence. This was the same strategy Jesus used for the woman caught in the act of adultery. No one-size-fits-all formula for winning souls for God’s kingdom exists. Just as there are different types of soils, there are also different types of hearts. What works for one person may not work for another.

– In today’s first reading, Amos does the opposite of what Jesus did in today’s Gospel passage. Amos preaches a direct message of woes and condemnation against those who practise social injustice, the oppressed, the poor, and the needy. “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth upon all loins and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.” (Amos 8:9-10). God is merciful, but if we take His mercy for granted, we will be shooting ourselves in the leg. Amos was not preaching to a people who had never heard about God; his words were addressed to persons like us who hear God’s words daily but refuse to practice them. We have no excuse for remaining in darkness.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, teach us to examine our conscience and judge ourselves before judging others. Use us as your instruments to win back lost souls for your kingdom. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. May God’s abundant blessings be upon us all. (Friday of week 13 in Ordinary Time Liturgical Colour: Green.

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