Homily for Wednesday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time Year II
Theme: Familiarity Breeds Contempt
By: Fr. Evaristus Abu
Homily for Wednesday February 5 2020
(Wednesday 5th February 2020. Read 2 Samuel 24:2-17, Psalm 32 and Mark 6:1-6)
“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us? And they took offence at him.” (Mark 6:3)
The saying is indeed true that the grass always looks greener outside. We never value that which belongs to us. Jesus visits His home town, Nazareth, where He grew up and spent almost thirty years of His life.
Jesus goes to their synagogue on a Sabbath day and begins to teach but the people who knew him simply as the Carpenter’s son are astonished at the wisdom issuing out from His words and the power that was at work in His mighty miracles. “And they took offence at him” in other words, they were cold and unreceptive to Him.
Jesus made a parable that “A prophet is not without honour except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” Jesus was not surprised by their reaction. Their lack of faith was caused by their familiarity with Jesus. They just couldn’t see beyond the carpenter’s son they knew Him as. Even the disciples of Jesus were still trying to grapple with the fact that Jesus is God in human flesh.
It is quite touching that their lack of faith became an obstacle preventing them from receiving the miracles Jesus had wanted for them. Mark tells us: “He could do no mighty work there, except that he laid hands upon a few sick people and healed them.”
Could it be the case that our lack of faith (familiarity with Jesus) is responsible for the near absence of miracles today? Do I receive Holy Communion casually even when I am fully conscious of mortal sins which I am yet to confess? Is my faith as strong as the woman with the issue of blood who touched Jesus’ garment or am I just like these people who failed to acknowledge God in the person of Jesus?
Our first reading today teaches us a lot of lessons: One, the need to pray for our leaders. David did something he wasn’t supposed to do. He took a census. And for this sin of his, seventy thousand persons died. When our leaders make mistakes, the masses suffer, when our leaders are clueless, insensitive and concerned only about their personal enrichment, the poor masses suffer.
Secondly, we learn to acknowledge our faults and quickly ask for mercy. Unlike Saul who tried to justify his wrong deed, David went on his knees several times to beg for God’s forgiveness. And on this occasion, God stopped the pestilence that was scraping through the nation of Israel.
Today, we remember St. Agatha, a virgin who was martyred for her faith. She was born in Sicily, of rich and noble parents and consecrated from her earliest infancy to God. In the midst of dangers and temptations, she served Christ in the purity of body and soul, and she died for the love of chastity. St. Agatha, just like our own Vivian Ogu of Nigeria died in defence of her purity. She chose to die than to defile herself. We celebrate her as a parish today because our parish is St. Agatha Catholic Church.
In Nigeria today, countless Christians have lost their lives simply for the sake of their faith. Religious persecution is really happening now in Nigeria. It was there long before this present government and it has cut across both Muslim and Christian faithful but has now assumed an unprecedented rate today.
As God ended the pestilence in our first reading, we pray for God to end this persecution. Also, we pray that our youths may be inspired to keep themselves pure and undefiled and be willing to die to preserve their bodily purity.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, deepen our faith and grant that we may never suffer for the sins of our leaders. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. (Wednesday of the 4th week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 2 Samuel 24:2-17, Psalm 32 and Mark 6:1-6).