Homily for Wednesday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: Readiness to be Christ’s witness
By: Fr. Francis Onwunali
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Andrew Dung Lac, priest and martyr, and companions, martyrs. St. Andrew was one of 117 people who were martyred for their faith in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. They are known as Martyrs of Vietnam. There were 8 Bishops, 50 priests and 59 lay Catholics. The youngest was 9 years old.
The central message of our liturgical celebration today is the call for us to be ready to bear witness (to be martyrs) to Christ and His Gospel. In the gospel (Luke 21: 12-19), Jesus warns His disciple that what is about happening to Him will also be their portion. They will be hated, betrayed and persecuted, worst still by their close acquaintances and family, but their perseverance will win them their lives. Wisdom for their defense will be given them as long as they remain faithful in Him.
In the first reading (Dan. 5: 1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28), king Belshazzar met his waterloo when he decided to defile the sacred vessels of God Almighty to honour idols made of human hands. In bearing witness to the Truth, Daniel boldly stood to interpret the words written by the finger of God for the king, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN- predicting the destruction of the king and his kingdom, and giving hope of liberation to the Jews.
Dear friends, if the Gospel is Good News, why are the bearers of this Good News victims of hatred, betrayal and persecution? Should we be discouraged, despaired and despondent? The evil one is always ready to kill and to speak falsehood as “father of lies” into the hearts of people to reject the Good News. He tempts people through envy, deception, hatred, fear of detachment and hostility. We should boldly stand for the Truth that sets free. Let us not be prisoners of our conscience.
I pray as we journey in life today, we will be courageous enough to bear witness to Christ and like Daniel, not be enticed by any material gain or fame as to compromise the Truth. May we join the Psalmist to give glory and eternal praise to God always. Have a witnessing-full day!
Fr. Francis Onwunali