CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 20TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (1)

CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 20TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

HOMILY THEME: PREFERING SOMETHING TO GOD?

BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo

 

HOMILY: * Ezek 24: 15 – 24, Matt 19: 16 – 22

The young man went away sorrowful. He prefered something to God. Prefering something to God is what we do whenever we sin. And that is what the Israelites did in today’s 1st reading. It always ends in sorrow and mourning.

The young man was a minimalist while Jesus is a maximalist. Minimalists worry about which sin is mortal and which is venial and to what boundary lines they can cross while maximalists avoid sins completely and think of how to love God. Minimalists bother about what percentage offering they should give to God – whether 10% (tithe) is enough or 30%… while maximalists want to give everything. In the Seminary, minimalists worry about what to read to pass examinations and become a priest while maximalists think of the wider knowledge with which to lead the people of God.

Even though the young man wanted to make heaven and to be perfect, he still desired the minimum requirement to get that achieved. In the first place he was talking of what to do and not what to be. That was his first mistake. He wanted to know what to do instead of who to be. He was asking Jesus what he can do for God but Jesus was rather asking him to be a lover of God. St Augustine was later to articulate this in the statement, ‘love God and do whatever you like’. If you want to be perfect, love God above every other thing. Doing without loving is not salutary. Loving God and neighbour with all your heart is what takes you to heaven.

Jesus asked Peter 3 times: ‘Do you love me?’ and asked him to care for his flock. He said: ‘When you were young, you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you to where you would rather not go’, Jn 21: 18. Real spirituality is all about sacrifice. It is about poverty, chastity and obedience. The 3 Greek words Fr Akanigwo,Cssp (of blessed memory) always used to illustrate this were; ‘chremata’ – sacrificing one’s source of livelihood, ‘carentia’ – sacrificing of a loved one and ‘charismata’ – sacrificing of one’s gifts/ talents. Because every love entails sacrifice, our love of God is expected to make us sacrifice a lot. That is what the young man couldn’t do which we are all called to do now.

May God bless you today!


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