Homily for Monday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: The Holy Jealousy.
By: Fr. Evaristus Abu
Homily for Monday September 30 2019
(Monday 30th September 2019. Read Zechariah 8:1-8, Psalm 102 and Luke 9:46-50)
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath.” (Zechariah 8:2)
In today’s first reading, we hear God speaking through the lips of the prophet Zechariah: “I am jealous.” This is quite strange. How can God be jealous? What could this mean? To properly understand God’s jealousy, let us find out where else in Scripture that God describes himself as jealous. This brings us to the book of Exodus and precisely to the Ten Commandments. Speaking through Moses, God declares:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a JEALOUS GOD. (Exodus 20:2-5)
With this context, we can now see what God means by being jealous. The jealousy of God is not and should never to be compared with human jealousy. God is jealous for our sake because He alone is God and nothing else can take His place in our lives. This is why the saying is so true that “our hearts are restless until they rest in God.”
Unfortunately, we spend a lot of our energies in life trying to find a replacement for God even without knowing it. This is what fuels our craze for material possessions, our drive for all kinds of pleasures and our insatiable quest for power. We want power by all means because we want others to worship us; we want power so that by feeling like gods, we would begin to raise shoulders with God.
Even the disciples of Jesus are not left out of this innate quest for power. In our Gospel passage, we find them arguing seriously about who is the greatest among them. Note that this argument is coming up few moments after Jesus reminded them that he would soon fall into the hands of men and be killed. They were too afraid to question Jesus instead, they started thinking of who will be the next leader of the group. Politics was about to come into play.
Even though the disciples tried to keep this argument away from Jesus, Luke tells that Jesus “perceived the thoughts in their hearts.” Jesus knew what they were thinking and decided to intervene. Jesus brought a small child into their midst and said: “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” (Luke 9:48).
Notice that first, Jesus directs attention to God and then declares that the path to greatness is becoming childlike; humble; serving others. In another passage where a similar argument about greatness occurred among the disciples, Jesus told them: “whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.” (Mark 10:43-44). Basically, Jesus is teaching us never to try to be God. There is only one God, if you must be great, then become a servant.
Another way we often hold on to power is behaving as if we alone have access to Jesus. (as though we are cabals to Jesus). John told Jesus about the man who was casting out demons in his name but was not a member of the disciples. (This is the origin of Pentecostalism). John forbade the man hoping that Jesus would commend him but surprisingly, Jesus told him not to.
The very fact that one who was not a disciple (not an ordained minister) could use the name of Jesus and work miracles teaches us that the power is in the name itself and not in the person using the name. It is completely wrong to classify any minister as powerful or not powerful because it is not the minister himself that works miracles but Jesus Himself. More still, this teaches us a lesson in humility; to admit that we are just men and not gods.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, enlarge my heart to always give you the worship that you deserve. May I never try to find your replacement in my life. Amen.
St. Jerome, priest and doctor of the church, pray for us. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome. Bible Study: Zechariah 8:1-8, Psalm 102 and Luke 9:46-50)