Homily for Friday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: Faithfulness in faith
By: Fr. Francis Onwnali
Homily for Friday February 5 2021
The Church today celebrates the Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr. Agatha died in defence of her purity, in Catania, Sicily, where she was born. After Quintanus, the governor of Sicily, tried in vain to force her to consent to sin, she was imprisoned for a month with an evil woman. He then turned from sensuality to cruelty and had her breast cut off. Legend had it that she was healed by St. Peter. She was then rolled over sharp stones and burning coals, and finally taken to prison where she died while praying. Her name appears in the Canon of the Mass.
The readings of today’s liturgy present to us the theme of “faithfulness in faith”. Faith dispels fear. The first reading (Heb 13: 1-8) exhorts believers to be faithful in their actions. It began with the word – philadelphia – love of one’s brothers and sisters. This is to be the mark of all believers. One’s philadelphia is displayed by hospitality, visiting the sick, caring for the lowly, being faithful to one’s marital relations, and not being greedy, but being willing to share the riches one has. Our model of faithfulness in Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
In the gospel (Mark 6: 14-29), the evangelist Mark recalls the beheading of John the Baptist by Herod. John confronted King Herod on his unfaithfulness with his brother Philip’s wife. He was willing to remain faithful to the way of the Lord even in the face of death.
Dear friends, at times in life we face circumstances which can challenge our trust in God. We are tempted to live in fear and allow fear to wear away not only our trust in God but also our concern and love for others.
I pray as we journey in life today, we will try to live our lives marked by philadelphia . May our real allegience not be with fear but with the Lord Jesus who is ever victorious, our helper and who is always with us. With the Psalmist we say: The Lord is my light and my help; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; before whom shall I shrink? (Ps. 27: 1). Have a faith-full day!
-Fr. Francis Onwnali