CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF THE 17TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: MAY AUGUST BE BLESSED.
BY: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
HOMILY: MEMORIAL OF SAINT ALPHONSUS MARY DE LIGUORI. BISHOP & DOCTOR
READINGS: JEREMIAH 26:11-16.24, PSALM 69, MATTHEW 14:1-12
A clear conscience fears nothing and is always at peace regardless of whatever news, rumours or clamourings. A coarsened or an evil conscience however, is always worried and threatened by challenging news, rumours and the likes. Today we see that Herod certainly had a guilty conscience because he’d murdered John at the request of Herodias’ daughter (Mt. 14:8). When he heard of Jesus’ ministry and some people erroneously told him it was John who rose from the dead (Lk. 9:7). Later on, Herod wanted to kill Jesus too (Lk. 13:31) and when he saw Christ during his passion, he (Herod) could only mock Christ and treat him with contempt (Lk. 23:11). Indeed, Herod was a bad leader, a bad example, an unrepentant fellow; one who did nothing to correct his conscience but rather allowed it to be hardened all the more.
The princes and all the people of Judah in our first reading today were attentive to God’s word through Jeremiah. They neither followed popular opinion nor succumbed to the pressure mounted by the evil minded priests and prophets who wanted Jeremiah dead. Their consciences were alive and active. Indeed they saved Jeremiah’s life. Herod couldn’t as much as save John’s life even when his conscience called him to do so. We are told he was greatly distressed at heart, but he couldn’t rescind his erroneous, passion driven and unnecessary promise to Salome. The consequence was the death of John and of course, this lived with him always.
Beloved in Christ, today is an invitation to pay attention to God’s word in us, our consciences and act on them. Today is a call for us not to harden not our hearts when we hear God’s voice (Psalm 95:7-8). Conscience is God’s voice in us and the heart is where that voice lies. We may not want to be like the priests and prophets of Jeremiah’s day who closed their hearts and were bent on killing the innocent. We may do well never to be like Herod who let his conscience harden, he grew worse by the day and was never repentant of his past misdeeds. We may want rather, to be like the princes of Judah and of course Ahikam, son of Shaphan who shielded Jeremiah from evil hands. We may awaken our consciences by listening to God’s word and by constantly praying to him.
May I charge us in the words of Revelation 3:20 “Listen, I am standing at the door and knocking” to see and hear Christ knocking on the doors of our hearts and our consciences. He wants us to build for him suitable and comfortable homes of rest in our hearts.
We pray through the intercession of Saint Alphonsus Mary de Liguori, an exceptionally holy, peaceful and humble man; ardent lover of Mary, and lawyer turned priest; that our lives may be blessed by God this August and beyond. Amen
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