CYCLE I: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: THE 2ND & THE 3RD COMMANDMENTS!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: * Heb 4 : 1 – 5 : 11, Mk 2 : 1 – 12.
The 3rd commandment is a commandment about rest ; joining/ partaking in God’s place/ day/ moment of rest. The Bible says that God rested on the 7th day from all his works and so today’s 1st reading enjoins us : ‘Let us therefore strive to enter that rest’. Christians identify with this idea by observing the Sunday ( Day of the resurrection of Christ) as our day of rest. The theology of rest foreshadows the highest eschatological promise – the promise of entering God’s eternal place of rest. We begin to celebrate this future reality every Sunday as we tarry a while with the Christian community in worship in the morning. And like the Jews did, coming back again in the evening for Bible Study and Benediction is also a most salutary practice. And the commandment says : Let no one fall by the same sort of disobedience our ancestors did, Ps 95 : 11.
The 2nd commandment is a commandment against blasphemy ; taking the name of the Lord in vain. The Jews got it all wrong in today’s gospel when they accused Jesus of blasphemy because he forgave the sins of the paralytic. But what was at stake was lack of faith. There were 3 kairotic moments of expression of faith/ lack of it in today’s gospel :
1. When they could not get near him ; Here we are talking not about the faith of the sick man but that of his committee of friends who pulled down the roof ceiling in order to bring him to Jesus. As the faith of St Augustine’s mother saved him, today, the faith of this sick man’s friends saved him and so does the faith of our community of believers save us when they storm heavens for us in intercession.
2. When Jesus saw their faith ; Here we are talking about a kind of practical faith ; a resilient faith ; a faith that summounts all obstacles to meeting Jesus. As soon as Jesus sees this kind of faith he normally releases healing and forgiveness.
3. When Jesus perceived in his spirit that they questioned his authority ; Here we are talking about a lack of faith and understanding that Jesus saw in the Scribes and Pharisees immediately he made the pronouncement about forgiveness of sin. He decided to demonstrate his divinity.
At the end of the day people said : We never saw anything like this ; 1. Power to forgive sins given to a man. 2. The same power shared with his Church, Jn 20 : 23. According to St Augustine : ‘Faith is to believe in the Words of God, what we do not see, and its reward is to see and enjoy what we believe’. Let us invest in faith and obedience this year and I assure you, we will never end up as losers.
May God bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO.