CYCLE I: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: * Heb 3 : 7 – 14, Mk 1 : 40 – 45.
There are 2 dimensions to the sacrament of reconciliation ; One is the healing from God and the other is the proof to the people of God (absolution). The 1st is an affirmation of God’s healing power through the saving works of Jesus Christ on the Cross. The Word of God says that ‘God has reconciled us to himself through Christ and he gave us the ministry (sacrament) of reconciliation’, 2 Cor 5 : 18. The 2nd is an affirmation of the role of the priest in bringing the sick ( fallen ) believer back to communion with the people of God. This is why Jesus told the leper in today’s gospel, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone, but go show yourself to the priest’.
Leprosy in the Old Testament was considered more as an uncleanness than as a disease. It is more like the way we look at mortal sin today, 1 Jn 5 : 16 which cuts a Christian off from communion with the people of God. That is why the healing process was sacramental. Christ was more interested in the sacramental ritual of showing himself to a priest than the social tendency of rushing out to give testimony.
One more warning we need to adhere to is the warning against hardening of our conscience. The 1st reading says : ‘Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts’. The punishment for hardening of heart is that ‘They shall never enter my rest’. We exhort one another therefore in this new year, that none of us ‘may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin’. The sacrament of reconciliation must never be seen like ‘a ritual washing machine’ where Christians habitually commit mortal sins and go to be washed each time. Repentance ( firm purpose of amendment) is sine qua non for the efficacy of this sacrament. God is spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth, Jn 4 : 24.
May God bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO.