Homily for Tuesday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time Year II
Theme: Can We Worship God in Vain?
By: Fr. Evaristus Abu
Homily for Tuesday February 11 2020
Tuesday 11th February 2020. Read 1st Kings 8:22-30, Psalm 84 and Mark 7:1-13.
Jesus said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me” (Mark 7:6-7).
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus made a very shocking statement. Even though Jesus was quoting the prophet Isaiah, for these words to have come out His lips, they carry a lot of weight. The question is: “Is it possible to worship God in vain?” In other words, is it possible that after all our worship of God (after all that we have to put up with for the sake of our faith), we could still be cast into hell just like those who never knew God?
Jesus, in another passage already makes allusion to this fact when He spoke of the many persons who will be turned back from the gate of heaven on the last day. Persons who felt they knew God very well, persons who even ate and drank with Him. As Jesus puts it: “When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us.’ He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’
Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!’ There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out.” (Luke 13:24-28).
Having seen that it is possible to serve God in vain, the next question that should bother us is: “Am I worshipping God in vain?” Come to think of it, is it not better that you were never a Christian than to be thrown out of heaven in the end?
You may wonder: How do I worship God in vain? By cleansing the outside of the cup while leaving the inside dirty; by practising false spirituality; by living a life of pretence.
We worship God in vain when we make excuses for disobeying God’s commandments while trying to justify our wrong deeds. We worship God in vain when, in the name of modernity, we reject God’s word and still claim to be His followers. We see a lot of this today such as Christians who edit the Bible to give allowance for gay unions, Christians who claim that adultery or fornication are not sins but mere expressions of love and so on.
Be careful, God cannot be deceived. There is a proverb that says: “All lizards have their bellies on the ground but we do not know which one has a stomach ache.” Our churches are packed full. New churches are springing up left, right and centre. There is even a competition among men of God for Church members. Some go to the extent of paying people to fill up seats in their churches while some rain curses upon church members who dare to leave. Things are happening! In the end, many of us will realize that we have worshipped in vain.
As Jesus would say: “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, as King Solomon prayed at the dedication of the temple, may I be fully consecrated to you. May my worship never be in vain. Amen.
Be happy. Live positive. It is well with you. (Tuesday of the 5th week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1st Kings 8:22-30, Psalm 84 and Mark 7:1-13).