CYCLE I: HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: THEY LEFT THEIR NETS IMMEDIATELY!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: * Heb 1 : 1 – 6, Mk 1 : 14 – 20.
Salvation is made easy not just by knowledge but by the will. That knowledge is virtue has long been debunked by the Medieval Philosophers like St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. Knowledge alone does not produce right behaviour. To know is one thing and to will to obey is another. Perhaps, this is why Jesus in choosing his apostles in today’s gospel targeted not the learned but peasant farmers. As a priest, I have had the experience of working among the learned, the ignorant farmers and the crooked traders and can easily make comparison of my pastoral successes / failures in these places. Nothing is as disheartening as a leader giving instructions and the supposed followers doing exactly the opposite. It is even more painful, like mentioned in the Parable of the two sons, to pledge obedience and end up not doing so, Matt 21 : 28 – 32.
Oftentimes people disobey because they believe in the relativity of truth, in the variety of opinions especially on theological matters or the weakness of the human will towards a given request. But in Jesus, we have a certain degree of absolute truth; a certain degree of convergence of ideologies from various religions of the world and a certain degree of grace released for those who believe and are ready to accept his ways, Jn 1 : 12. Today’s 1st reading says that in times past God spoke to humanity through various prophets with their limitations, but now in Jesus, God spoke to humanity in a definite way that can enable us have some kind of precise dogma, corpus of faith and rules/ guidelines of behaviour. Obedience is therefore made easy when everybody takes a cue from the comprehensive teachings of Jesus Christ. And this call for obedience is bilateral. The authority must obey God first and only after that will it become easier for the followers to obey them.
Repentance and faith must be combined before salvation is guaranteed. Repentance is not just an act of realization of error ( knowledge) but a movement of the will (desire to make amends). Faith alone is not enough for salvation. Repentance augments faith and propels the human soul into a change of behaviour ( metanoia). As the disciples of Jesus left their nets and followed Christ immediately, I pray this year that we all will have the will power to leave our sins, bad habits, worldly attachments, etc and follow the Words of Jesus.
May God bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO.