Fr. Ben’s homily for Monday of 2nd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Monday January 17 2022
*1 Sam 15 : 16 – 23, Mk 2 : 18 – 22.
The experience of King Saul in today’s 1st reading is not palatable at all. Saul was roundly accused of disobedience of God’s Word by the man of God Samuel. His defense was: ‘But I did not disobey Yahweh’ s voice… I brought back Agag the King of the Amalekites and took the best of the sheep and cattle of what was under the curse of destruction only to sacrifice to Yahweh on Gilgal’. Poor Saul! For him this was ‘creative obedience’ but for God it was ‘presumptuous disobedience’. Samuel’s sentence was emphatic and severe: ‘Obedience is better than sacrifice. Submissiveness than the fat of rams. Rebellion is a sin of sorcery. Presumption a sin of idolatry. Since you have rejected Yahweh’s Word, he has rejected you as King’. Jerusalem Bible commentary says that Saul acted in good faith but therein lies his tragedy: his sin consists in choosing his individual way of honouring God with a view to his own popularity. But our worship and services must be totally unselfish – given to God out of love, not for any kind of self promotion.
We just need to be careful about this thing called obedience. While we don’t have to presume our own whims and caprices in trying to realize the will of authorities, we must also avoid sheepish obedience – an obedience that completely lacks our rational input. This is simply sycophancy and it does not help any administration.
We also need to be careful about what we call worship. Choosing your own individual way of honouring God is dangerous. Some of these religious rituals like fasting and praying or even the Holy Mass, are not superior to obedience. Christ insists in today’s gospel that as long as they had the bridegroom with them there was no need for his disciples to fast. The presence of the bridegroom here represents perfect joy and communion with God, that is what Catholics call ‘state of grace’. New wine skin /new cloth here represents our new approach to the worship of God. According to Vima Dasan, ‘To worship and to fast is to quicken our conscience by the will of God, to feed our mind with the truth of God, to open our heart more to doing his will and to devote our will to the purpose of God. Otherwise, we slander God by our worship and fast, and that is hypocrisy’. May God bless you today!