CYCLE I: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: HELP PEOPLE TO EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN THE WORLD
BY: Rev. Fr. Utazi Prince Marie Benignus
HOMILY: (SAINT AGNES, VIRGIN, MARTYR)
Hebrews 7: 25 – 8: 6; Psalm 40: 7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17; Mark 3: 7-121
How does the time you spend pondering and reflecting on God’s Word make a difference in your daily living? Are you energized by studying the Scriptures? Are you being drawn closer in your relationship with the Lord Jesus? Secondly, are you sharing what you understand with others? Jesus is seen as the perfect High Priest and the Messiah Who brings healing, wholeness and salvation to those who are in need.
Today is the fourth day of the Octave of week of Christian unity. It ends on January 25, the feast of the conversion of St Paul. How much have you contributed to the unity of Christians? Are you among those still hurting the body of Christ? For those of us who are Catholics, it is true that there are many sodalities/groups in the Church, such Charismatic Renewal, Catholic Bible Society, Catholic Biblical Instructors’ Union, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Legion of Mary and so on. How do you relate with the members of other groups in the same Parish? Do you see them as your brothers and Sisters or your antagonists? I have heard many Catholics criticizing one group or the other in the same Parish. Where are the Christians going from here? God is watching. Repent and build up the body of Christ. We are talking of Christian Unity. Christians cannot unite if the blocks that make up the Christianity are not united in themselves.
The First Reading compares and contrasts Jesus with the Jewish high priests who repeatedly offered sacrifices as signs of the people’s desire to be freed from sin. The Hebrew priests could only offer “shadow” sacrifices as symbols of the relationship between God and the people. They went into Holy of Holies, the sanctuary of God. It was erected as a model of the true, that is, the real, dwelling place of God in heaven. However, Jesus is the perfect High Priest Who offers the perfect sacrifice of obedience in the perfect dwelling place of God in heaven. Again, the Hebrew priesthood, sacrifice, and sanctuary were only human representations (that is “shadows” or “reflections”) of the reality of Jesus’ priesthood, His sacrifice, and His being in the full presence of God.
The psalmist speaks of obedience as the response God desires from people. It focuses on the perfect sacrifice. The perfect sacrifice is not performing rituals and offering holocausts, but the complete obedience to the will of God. Jesus performed the perfect sacrifice in His perfect obedience to God’s plan. As the true God and true human, He brought all humanity into the divine sacrifice and was obedient to His Father’s will. Therefore, only through obedience can people come to share in the benefits of the perfect sacrifice offered by Jesus.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus continues His ministry by teaching the people and healing them of the spiritual, physical, and emotional maladies with which they are inflicted. They are people experiencing darkness, just like you and I. The people sense Jesus’ authority and power, and they come in search of Him. Jesus’ ministry focuses on God’s compassion for the people and the divine proclamation of Good News. He points to a closer relationship with God rather than being intoxicated of His power. He focuses the people’s attention to the fullness of the future destiny which they can begin to experience now.
Dear Sisters and Brothers, it is glaring that all human activities fall short of the reality of God. Even Jesus in His human ministry could only point to a greater and fuller truth of God’s eternal love for humankind. On earth we cannot fully comprehend or experience what will be our destiny when we are with God forever in heaven. It therefore means that we must do all we can now, so that people can start to experience God’s presence in their lives, but we will never know the fullness that awaits us while we live in this world. We should strive to be as obedient as we can to the will of God, which is the proclamation of the Good News of God’s love. The more we love, minister to, and serve others, the more we and they will have a foretaste of what God has in store for us when we are in the divine presence eternally. And the more we are in closer relationship with the Father. The challenge for me is that I must be the best reflection of the Light (Jesus) as possible to others. And when people feel enlightened and warmed by the Light which I reflect, I need to realize that it is not me who gives energy and comfort to them. I should have my surface buffed and worked on so that I can reflect the Light in the direction the Light should be shining. I am nothing without the Light. There are a couple of things which polish me so I can reflect the Light better. One is the trying and difficult times I go through. Those rough experiences can both wear down the imperfection in me and make me ready for the next step, or they can destroy me. If I get through the rough abrasions in my life I will then be ready to have a fine abrasive and finishing surface put on me. This is the obedience to the will of God. It is only then that I can reflect the Perfect Light which guides me on the Way to safety (that is, salvation). If I can allow the difficult times in my life to wear away the rough parts of my life and I can then be polished with the obedience to God’s will, then I will reflect God’s glorious Light.
*MEDITATION* What experiences in my life have been sources of reflection of the Light of God to me? How have I been polished and made a better reflective surface to help others come to experience the Light of Christ? What aspects of my life still need to be polished by obedience so I can continue to reflect the Light of Christ? Who could use my reflecting the Light upon them today?
*PRAYER* Lord God, Jesus came as Your Light to humanity, but even then we were limited from experiencing the fullness of Your eternal Light because we see with limited, human eyes. You have called us to be reflections of Your Light, reflections of Your Perfect Light with skin on, Who points to the place of Your heavenly Light. May we allow ourselves to be formed and worked into the best reflections of Your Light. May our obedience to Your will be the source of that which draws the people in darkness to come into Your Light. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
*O DIVINE WORD WHO TOOK FLESH FOR HUMAN SAKE, REDEEM US IN OUR SITUATIONS*
©️ Rev. Fr. Utazi Prince Marie Benignus