CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 10TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: BUT THE LORD WAS NOT IN THE FIRE!
BY: Fr. Ben Agbo
HOMILY: *1Kg 19 :9-16, Matt 5 : 27 – 32.
There is always the tendency to think that certain attributes of God would make us predict him all the time. For example, that you think God is a consuming fire, Heb 12 :28 does not mean he will always fight your battles whenever you raise your left hand and call ‘fire-ya-ya-ya’. That you think God is a miracle working God, who preceded his people in the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night to show them the way, Ex 13 :21 does not mean he will continue to do miracles for you all the time. He is also a God of nature and most importantly, a God of Peace.
This is the bitter lesson Elijah had to learn in today’s 1st reading. The embattled prophet after routing over 450 prophets of baal was on the run for his dear life at the threat of Jezebel – the occult grand mistress. He found himself hiding in a cave but God told him to come out from there and go and behold him upon the mountains. He thought God will manifest in the strong winds, in the earthquake, or in the fire as he did before but this time around, God came in a gentle breeze – a still small voice.
The devil often deceives and presses us to a comfort zone of self righteousness, where like Elijah, we tend to see ourselves as the only righteous man/ woman still standing on earth and then see others as our enemies. We need to hear the gentle small voice of God asking us : ‘What are you doing here?’ And that will be after searching for him in the strong wind, earthquakes and fire ( the loud prayers, hot fellowships and powerful crusade activities going on all over and around us).
When we learn to run into the cave of our quiet time, only then can we deal with our insurmountable clouds of weaknesses. Only then can we have the escape route to our passions of Youth. Our passions will not take us far with God. Holiness requires the mastery of the passions of Youth such as sexual desires, pride, anger, vanity etc. We must keep a constant vigil over our hearts and try to control our desires and passions through mortification and self denial.
When Jesus in today’s gospel speaks of plucking the ‘right eye’ or cutting the ‘right hand’, he is only using the metaphor of self control. Prevention, they say, is better than control. Evil desires for example, lead to fornication, which could lead to murder ( abortion) and adultery. Adultery must be blocked in its thought form first, otherwise we repeat the mistakes of King David over 3000 years ago. According to Vima Dasan, ‘If we don’t deal severely with lust, then a glance becomes a gaze, something which we would dare not touch before, becomes something we brazenly fondle, for lust and reason are enemies’. Through quiet time, we force reason to control our passions.
May God bless you today!
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