FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 16TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I
THEME: LOVE BEYOND THE GRAVE!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: Feast of St Mary Magdalene
* Song 3 : 1 – 4, Jn 20 : 1 – 18.
Mary Magdalene is somebody that can in worldly language be termed “the girl – friend of our Lord”. She loved him through and through, and followed him all through his ministry even beyond the grave. Destiny arranged it that this level of affection will lead her towards the important role she finally played as the primary witness of the resurrection. She loved more because she was also loved more. Healed by Jesus of 7 demons, Lk 8 : 2, she remained in fellowship with Jesus even after his burial and made the sacrifice of waking up early morning with very costly perfumes to embalm the body of Jesus and make it stay as long as possible.
We learn a number of lessons from her ;
1. Out of sight is not out of mind. Often times when our loved one’s are dead or even just travelled a long distance away, we tend to forget them and move about our normal business as if they never existed.
2. Respect for the dead, especially the remains of our own dead ones is very paramount. These days, people ( especially undertakers) throw about the corpse of their dead ones up and down as if they are doing acrobatics with them making the society gradually lose respect for the body of the dead.
3. Intimacy with the opposite sex is not inimical to the priestly ministry/ celibacy. It is part and parcel of it. It is unavoidable. Yet, it is risky and it is the true test of holiness. Flight from intimacy is an escapist mentality that may be sometimes expedient but at other times a sign of emotional immaturity. Jesus’ last word for Mary is : ‘Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren… and testify’. The watchword here is CONTROL of our relationship with the opposite sex. ” Noli me tangere” (Touch me not ) approach remains the best approach for priestly celibacy but as for intimate relationships with the opposite sex, they are often times unavoidable.
May the Lord give us grace to push our love for people beyond the grave and beyond mere sensualities.
FR BEN AGBO