HOMILY FOR 3RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – YEAR B
THEME: The Urgency of Detachment
BY: Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe
INTRODUCTION: Peter and Robinson were business associates. One day, they travelled to a distant land to buy some goods. This time, they bought more than necessary and also packed some scraps they found on their way because they wanted to sell everything and maximize their profits. On their way back, they remembered their lorry would not pass through a tunnel on the road because of the height of the goods loaded on it. When they got to the tunnel, they were confused on what to do. They wanted to deflate their tyres so as to reduce the height of the lorry and pass through the tunnel when a little boy approached them and said: “it is about to rain and it is better to lose a part than to lose the whole”. They read meaning into this and decided to remove the excess and less profitable goods which they eventually lost to the rain and the lorry was able to pass through the tunnel.
ALSO RECOMMENDED: HOMILY: 3RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STORY: This little boy could be likened to the Prophet Jonah we saw in the first reading (Jonah 3:1-5,10) and the businessmen, to the people of Nineveh. The Ninevites were thrown into confusion and impending destruction on account of their sins as the businessmen were, on account of their greed. In this hopeless situation, Prophet Jonah appeared just as the little boy did. Jonah only warned them of the impending danger of God’s wrath as the boy warned them of the approaching rain. The Ninevites on their own decided to repent as the businessmen repented from their selfishness. God’s wrath did not befall them again as the goods of the businessmen were not destroyed again. These people were saved because they detached from those things that would bring them destruction.
EXHORTATION: Today, as the Holy Father, Pope Francis established, is the Sunday of the Word of God. We are invited to reflect more deeply on the Word of God, it’s relevance in our lives and to listen to what the Word says. Among other things, the Word challenges us on detachment. Detachment simply means separating ourselves from all those things which could make us miss eternal salvation, e.g all forms of sinful living. Sometimes, it could also mean not giving something that we have or are too much attention than it deserve. For example, we cannot separate ourselves from money or other material goods we have, but we can pay less attention to them.
Detaching especially from something one loves is one of the most difficult things to do. In our heavenly journey, we are called not only to detach from sin and evil but from all those things that will distract our focus or lead us to doom. We have to repent from all sins and avoid all occasions of sins. It is important to note that there are things that though they are not evil in themselves, it is required that we detach ourselves from them. The reason is not because they pose actual dangers but because of the potential or impending dangers they may pose when we attach ourselves to them.
For this reason, St Paul in the second reading (1 Cor. 7:29-31), advises “those who have wives to live as though they had none, those who mourn, who enjoy life and who engage in business as though they do not”. St Paul wants us never to attach ourselves to any of these and more because they are not eternal realities, they are the things of the world which according to him, is passing away with all of its pomp and pageantries. The summary of what St. Paul says is that too much attachment to our wives/husbands would make us detach from the things of God, when the things of God should be given more priority. We shouldn’t mourn the dead to the extent that we lose sight of the resurrection of the dead or enjoy life in this world to the extent that we lose focus of the life to come.
Beloved friends, today, we are called to detach ourselves from sin and the things of this world so that we will become more attached to Christ our model with an undivided heart. That is why in the Gospel reading (Mark 1:14-20), Jesus invites us to follow him. He wants us to detach ourselves from the dangers that will arise from our professions and family engagements and allow him to do great things in and through us. Detachment does not necessarily mean dispossessing the good things we have but paying less attention to them so that we may pay more attention to Christ who has redeemed us by his blood.
Have you identified those things you should pay less attention to? They could mean your friendship with the world/friends, your job, your family commitments and the natural pleasures you delight in, among others. Do not allow anything occupy your mind more than the love of God. Do not deflate your tyres as the businessmen in our story wanted to do otherwise you will be crippled, but remove those excess and less profitable things that will prevent you from passing through the tunnel of eternity.
In detachment, there are still valuable things you may abandon if they pose threats to your salvation. For example, you can cut a relationship that you see as a possible occasion of sin, before it destroys you. Simon, Andrew, James and John even detached themselves from their family and trade as we see in the gospel. It is very urgent that we detach from those things now before they weaken our power of resilience. Don’t presume you can handle them when you get too attached to them inordinately. Are you ready to do this now? Happy Sunday. God loves you.
FOR SIMILAR HOMILY, CLICK HERE >>>