Homily for Wednesday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: There is punishment for any ignorance that leads to sinful act.
By: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
Homily for Wednesday October 23 2019
READINGS: Rom. 6: 12-18, Ps. 124, Luke 12: 39-48
Every human being on earth is limited with knowledge and so can be said to be ignorant to some level. In this sense, some ignorance can be culpable and some non-culpable.
Ignorance is culpable when the individual was or is supposed to have known about the thing either by negligence, pretence or carelessness or by decision refused to know about it. It is non-culpable when it is not the fault of the person for not knowing about it; may be some people who were supposed to have transmitted that knowledge failed in their duty or the person was not in the position to knowing about it. Here we are told that punishment exists for all kinds of ignorance. This supports the legal maxim that ignorance of the law is not an excuse not to be punished. This is the idea Jesus communicates in today’s gospel.
In the aspect of religion, it is difficult for any adult to claim ignorance of what is sinful and abhorred. This is why in the new covenant as seen in the prophecies of Ezekiel (Ez. 36: 25-28) and Jeremiah (Jer. 31: 31-41), God decided to put his laws into the hearts of man no more on the breakable tablet like the first with the Israel of old. Here God makes the Holy Spirit to be the teacher and the reminder through our conscience; and so, anyone who is mature in age is knowledgeable enough to decipher what is right from wrong. Here the prophet said: there would be no more teachers but each will know it in his heart. Any teacher we have now is to serve as a reminder and support for our efforts. Paul in this charity admonishes us in the first reading to make sure no sin reigns in our mortal bodies and by that destroy the soul. Every Christian is supposed not to allow his/her body to become instruments of the devil for sin and wickedness but as men redeemed from death to life in Christ, yield our members to God in good righteous acts. Disobedience to this leads to death while obedience leads to life. Our salvation from sin makes us slaves of God and so to righteousness not to the devil which is to sin. There is no grown up person at the age of reason that is ignorant of this.
Certain things take humans unaware but the rain that loomed in the cloud does not beat a wise man on the way. Precaution is relevant and sensitivity to every situation is necessary. As adults and mature human beings, we are supposed to be alert and on the watch; this is a continuation of the counsel of Jesus yesterday. Since our stay on earth is temporary and can end when we do not know safe God, we are supposed to use our discretion to do what is necessary and good so that no matter when it comes we would not be surprised. The servant must be ready always waiting for the return of the master; if the house owner knows the time and type of thieves that would come to his house, he would not remain unprepared for them to attack and kill him. If he can defend himself, he surely will prepare for it if not he would look for eternal help or take flight to save his life.
Beloved, if we think there is enough time and that the master would not notice what we do and deal wrongly with others under us, we would be the most unfortunate people to suffer his anger and punishment. There is greater punishment for those who know better and teach or correct others when they fail in those areas they know better; and so to whom much is given or who knows much, much would be expected of him and would be judged by that. But he who knows little and acts little beyond expectation would also be punished in that proportion.
May our help always come from the Lord so that we can do the good we already know and learn the things we ought to know. Let us remember that we shall be judged by every single action we put up in this world and also be judged by our omission and even our evil thoughts. May God save us from the snares of the fowler who seeks to destroy us (especially our purported ignorance), Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf