HOMILY THEME: Supplement your faith with virtues and progress in acquiring more.

BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf


HOMILY: READINGS: 2 Pet. 1: 2-7, Ps. 91, Mark 12: 1-12(St JUSTIN THE MARTYR)

St Peter is very pastorally simple and he admonished Christian to live a life of simple and practical spirituality. Today he has advised us to go beyond the life of faith as if to complement the epistle of James that faith without good works is dead. Peter knows that faith is very inevitable in our Christian life but believes that only faith cannot make us perfect or cannot be enough to be good Christians. He advised us to try to be godly in order to inherit the life of glory which our Lord Jesus Christ has prepared for us. This is the promise of Christ so that we can escape the corruption that is in the world because of evil passions. It is on account of this that he has asked us today in the first reading to make good effort to supplement our faith with virtue. When faith is supplemented with virtue, then godliness becomes complete and thorough. There cannot be a life of faith that lacks virtue; this is another way of explaining the stand of St James about show me your faith and I will show you my works. He believes that faith must be supplemented with virtuous life in order to make the faith active and Christian as well as praiseworthy.

Beloved, there are a lot of virtues that are necessary for any serious and mature Christian. For Peter virtue must lead us to knowledge because ignorance of God in itself shows no faith. We must show that we know what we believe and that our faith is very much known to us. No one can believe or have faith in what he does not know. Then our knowledge must be controlled by sound reasoning and wisdom. Knowledge without self control leads us astray and beyond the boundaries of courtesy and gentleness. Any knowledgeable and enlightened person without self control is like a beast that can be destroyed at any time by any little passion. Not having self control leads to self-destruction and a stupid way of life. It makes the knowledge laughable and doubtful. It is the possession of self control that will lead us to the next level of steadfastness. When we can control our desires and passions and our longings, then we definitely would be steadfast in our life of faith and in the followership of Jesus. Steadfastness makes us to remain resolute and unshakeable in our faith and belief; it makes us long lasting in tribulations and temptation of worldly lust and actually makes us victorious.

Beloved, it is important not to relax that we have faith when we cannot have anything virtuous to prove and authenticate our faith. Faith must be proved and authenticated by virtuous life. Faith with virtue makes a hedge around our spiritual life and keeps us protected from attack of the enemy. It is the life of grace with faith and virtue that God used to make a hedge round us for safety and guard. In the gospel today we see what a life lived without virtue of temperance, moderation and good knowledge can lead to. We see that the people did not show mature faith in the owner of the vineyard. They showed no virtue of good knowledge and application of wisdom. They lacked the virtue of self control to their unguarded and immodest cravings. Their lack of self control led them to their own self destruction making them fools at long run. They gained wickedly and momentarily but lost out completely. Lack of self control leads to jealousy, stupidity, unreasonableness and envy and often leads to rash decisions. This is why I said that it leads to self destruction as it was decided by the owner of the vineyard.

We pray that we put our trust always in God, live a life of faith and use the grace of God to acquire virtues that would complement our faith and pave way for our salvation. Our faith with sound virtues would assist us abide in the shelter of the Most High and abide in the shade of the Almighty which would make us have the Lord as our refuge and stronghold. We pray that the Lord will deliver us from useless way of life and protect us for knowing his name; make us contented and show us his saving power, Amen. May St Justin the martyr whose feast we celebrate today intercede for us for increase in faith and virtue and may we like him be ready to die for Christ for the cause of truth, justice and right, Amen.

Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf

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