Homily for Saturday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: Be mindful of whatever can wound your conscience.
By: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
Homily for Saturday August 3 2019
READINGS: Lev. 25: 1, 8-17, Ps. 67, Mat. 14: 1-12
Injuries and wounds are painful and disturbing to the holistic personality of any body. Wounds are not only physical but spiritual, mental and psychological. Physical wounds are visible and can be seen by others who may have the remedy or solution; it can be easily curative except when cancerous. The worst wound would be the spiritual which disfigures the soul and can end someone in hail. Moreover the mental and psychological is too disturbing and a silent killer and can hunt someone till death giving him no internal cohesion and peace. It instils fear and discomfort to the person and affects judgment and responses to situations.
In the Old Testament, God had a relationship with Israel based on un-conditional love and mutual trust. The covenant with them was also in that state but Israel could not be faithful to its dictates but depended on the materiality and physical nature of the form of the covenant (commandments). They tied it on their neck and made reference to it in matters of confusion before acting (like the hunch-back Pharisees). They lacked internal reminder and so could not be faithful. In the New Covenant, God decided to write it in the hearts such that no one would need a teacher or a reminder. This is the voice of conscience. Conscience then is the Spirit and voice of God inside the soul of everybody. It is the reminder, the true judge, the prosecutor and the enforcer of every actions of our life. It lives and never sleeps, very active and even at night wakes us to speak and acts more in the silent moments of our life.
Beloved in Christ, no matter how you try to quieten the conscience and kill it, its immortal nature resounds and resurrects at the time you least expect it. Even though consciences are of varied types, yet its functions remain the same in each person and works correctly at some time. The actions of Herod the King that he finished long ago with no qualms and no one to question his authority resonated at the time he thought it was over. He killed John the Baptizer to boost his ego and show the greatness of his might and to prove he was a man of his words to the admiration of people. They may have clapped for him, cheered him and marvelled at his prowess and power. He got his accolades and the people were gone and had rest of mind. They tell it as a story but Herod had no internal peace but war and disturbances as the conscience took over its operation in him. He sees and imagines double, he sees resemblances as real and regret fills him with fear. Jesus’ similar qualities with John spelt John in his mind and he sees John and the scene of beheading hunts him. He shouts that John has come back to life, he runs for safety but the war is in his heart and he cannot run away from his shadow. John he killed was resting in peace with his maker but Herod was in crisis.
Beloved, be mindful of what you do today for tomorrow may imprison you in conscience. Never engage for any reason in acts against your conscience for its voice is commanding and unending and shall follow you till the grave. O God may you be gracious and bless us and that your face may shed its light upon us so that our actions may praise you and then we may make your decrees and ways known upon the earth. May you give us blessing that all the nations may revere you, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf