CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF 14TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: THE CALF OF SAMARIA!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: *Hos 8:4 – 13, Matt 9:32 – 38.
The preaching of Prophet Hosea is centred against materialism, setting up of bad leaders and idols of human hands. All that is represented by the metaphor THE CALF OF SAMARIA. The whole country, just like Nigeria, was getting infected by this virus called “affluence” that robs people of sobriety and sensitivity about the plight of poor people. The wrongest people were being set up as leaders. The Lord said: ‘They made Kings but not through me. They set up princes, but without my knowledge’. Idols of human hands were all over the place.
Robert Wetmore said that there are two kinds of idolatry among children of God: Having a true image of a false god and having a false image of a true God. The latter is more rampant among believers than the former. What Francis Bacon calls ‘Idols’ are many – distempers of learning and artefacts of deceit. For example, he calls gossips ‘Idols of the market place’ and calls ignorance ‘Idols of the cave’. I will like to divide idolatry into 3;
1. Political idolatry; When the people of God appoint for themselves kings and rulers without God’s approval. This is the sin of today’s 1st reading and I think, part of Nigeria’s greatest problems. The consequence is that God leaves them to return to the Egypt of slavery.
2. Religious idolatry; When the people of God abandon the worship of the true God for Idols made by human hands as we find in today’s Responsorial Psalm, the consequence is ‘nihilism’ and slavery – their makers will come to be like them, Ps 115:8.
3. Spiritual idolatry; As we find in today’s gospel, when the people of God are obsessed or possessed by demons, it makes them spiritually mute to be able to praise their God or witness to his goodness. Sometimes these demons bring all sorts of sicknesses. Jesus shows compassion on the crowd of believers because they were harassed and helpless – like sheep without a shepherd.
May Jesus redirect our attention on God both as a nation, community and as individuals so that we will not be guilty of any forms of idolatry and their consequences. This is why we need more priests on the duty post! The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. I pity Bishops and Church Overseers who are already doing ‘family planning’ and trying to cut down on their number of priests instead of cutting down/ fighting the number of corruption in the priesthood. They should not be deceived by the teeming crowd of modern day priests – many are actually not labourers but loafers in the Vineyard of the Lord. Christ’s statement in today’s gospel remains eternally true. May God bless you today!
Fr. Benedict Agbo