Homily for the 22nd Sunday in the Ordinary Time – Year B:
Sunday Homily Theme: “THIS PEOPLE HONOURS ME ONLY WITH LIP SERVICE…”
This is the 22nd Sunday in ordinary time. The world of today is witnessing an alarming rate of hypocrisy. Most people in authority pay lip service to public posts. Some keep mute in the face of dangerous threats. Lip service is a pretentious “yes” devoid of action. Moses warned the people of Israel: “keep the commandments of the Lord your God just as I lay them down for you” (Deut.4:1-2. 6-8). He charged them to keep the commandments because he knew that they might pay lip service to it. The same charge is being placed on us today to listen and observe the law of the Lord without adding or subtracting anything from it. God is near to the nation that keeps his commandments but far from those who contravene them. Many nations today refuse to keep God’s commandments.
In order to be at peace with God, St. James says: “… you must do what the word tells you, and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves (Jas. 1:17-18ff). Those who deceive themselves are those who do not put into practice what the word of God tells them. James goes on to tell us that, “Pure unspoiled religion, in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it…” Some nations of the world are practicing spoiled religion. This is why orphans and widows are being killed in the name of religion. The killers are practicing their traditional method of forcing the so-called “infidels” to accept a particular religion. Religious freedom should be promoted by all.
The Pharisees and the Scribes questioned Jesus why his disciples ate without performing the ablution. Our Lord summarized their hypocrisy as follows: “This people honours me with lip service, while their hearts are far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless” (Mk. 7:1-8ff). It is important to note that we are defiled by what comes from within us. When we nurture evil in our hearts nothing good can come from us. The killings going on in many nations are systematically planned from within. Sometimes they are sponsored by those at the inner circle of the nations’ affairs. “For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge…” All these make us unclean and unworthy of God’s mercy. Do you pay lip service to God! Are you thinking about killing people who do not practice the same faith with you? Time has come for us to rethink and embrace peace. Happy Sunday.
Fr. Cajetan Anyanwu