Homily for tuesday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: EMBRACE THE IDEALS OF CHRISTIANITY; DON’T CAMOUFLAGE.
By: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
Homily for Tuesday August 25 2020
READINGS: 2THESSALONIANS 2:1-3,14-17, PSALM 96, MATTHEW 23:23-26
One of the Jewish religious regulations that was not treated with levity was tithing. ‘Set apart a tithe of all the yield of your seed that is brought in yearly from the field’ (Deut. 14:22). ‘All tithes from land, whether the seed from the ground or the fruit from the tree, are the Lord’s; they are holy to the Lord, (Lev. 27:30). The tithes were meant for the Levites who worked in the Temple and the things to be tithed were defined by the law. The superlatively meticulous Pharisees would tithe even kitchen shrubs and vegetables which were not cultivated on a high scale while at the same time being unjust, arrogant and wicked. For Jesus, this was bizzare and outrageous.
Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time that remembered and enhanced the strict adherence to the law, especially those that favoured them whilst being advocates of injustice, faithlessness, and wickedness; many of us keep the trifles of the law and forget the things that really matter. Are there not many Catholics here who dress decently to Church, make offering and donations to the Church, pray with all seriousness, and are never absent from Holy Mass; yet, they never as much do a single honest work in a day, they are ill-tempered, very selfish and mean with their God given finances when it comes to helping those in need etc.?
Are there not committed Christians (according to human judgment), who observe the outward actions of religion but are completely irreligious? What can you say of a police man whose badge carries Jacob, James, John etc, who frequents Holy Mass but harass people on the road in a bid to extort money from them? That’s not all, what of the Church chairman who is a business man and specializes in doubling his profit on goods that himself purchased at a very cheap rate? What about the Landlord, a ‘first bencher’ at Church activities, who hypes the rent of his sub standard house because there is a shortage in accommodation? Tell me, the politician who almost wears God and speaks about Jesus like his bosom friend, but steals with the stroke of his pen those funds meant for public consumption; how just is he? The Christian mother who has so many honours in church (because of her camouflaging behaviour in Church): Committed Mother, Dedicated Mother, Mother of Faith, who maltreats her house help, starves her, stops her from schooling, at best enrolls her into adult education, while her children school in the choicest institutions there are, is the worst kind of hypocrite. Indeed, religious observance is different from real devotion.
The call today is one necessitated by a seeming confusion that is paramount among Christians, fussing about trifles or trivialities whilst letting the weightier matters go. Jesus advocates a cleansing that springs from inside us, besides God loves a humble, pure, serene and contrite heart, (Ps 51:19). It is a clarion call to embrace justice, mercy, forgiveness, compassion equity and the likes. It is a call to ‘do what is right and just; to rescue the victims from the hands of oppressors, not to wrong the orphan or widow or alien…’ (Jer. 22:3). This is the religion, clean and undefiled before God the Father: to visit the orphans and widows in their tribulations and to keep yourself pure, apart from this age (James 1:27).
FEEDING THE POOR IS A NECESSITY