HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A.
THEME: DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE SON OF MAN?
BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara.
(1 SAM. 16:1B,6-7.10-13A, EPH. 5:8-14, JN. 9:1-41)
The fundamental question from today’s liturgy is, what does it mean to believe? To believe is not a mere rhetorical response to a crisis of choice. but a deep expression of commitment and trust to a system, a person, a structure and in fact, a deity, or a force greater than you; to Almighty God whom I worship. Paul said it is to produce all kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.
An exercise of faith!
An historical excursus of what it means to believe could be of help here, first from the scriptures.
“Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see. Because of faith the men of old were approved by God….
By faith Abel offered God a sacrifice greater than Cain’s. Because of this he was attested to be just, God himself having borne witness to him on account of his gifts; therefore, although Abel is dead, he still speaks…. By faith Noah, warned about things not yet seen, revered God and built an ark that his household might be saved. He thereby condemned the world and inherited the justice which comes through faith.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called and went forth to the place he was to receive as a heritage; he went forth, moreover, not knowing where he was going. By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose designer and maker is God.
All of these died in faith. They did not obtain what had been promised but saw and saluted it from afar…. (Hebrews 11-1-6)
“Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.”
By faith Pope Benedict XV who was elected pope six weeks after the beginning of the World War I or, as he called it, “the suicide of civilized Europe.” had to lead the church not just through war, but also the Spanish flu pandemic that killed some 50 million around the world in 1918. He survived World War I and the initial epidemic, but in January of 1922, he succumbed to a bad case of the flu that had killed so many people just three years before. After celebrating Mass for the nuns at Casa Santa Marta and was exposed while waiting for his driver outside in the rains.
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By faith St. Charles Borromeo reduced his food to one meal a day; bread, water and dried figs to attend to people during the famine. He prepared his will, prepared himself for death, and then proceeded to visit the hospitals and homes of the victims during the plagues that raged in Millan for two years.
By faith St Damian of Molokai moved in with lepers in May 1873, in the words of Bishop Louis Maigret during his introduction, “I have brought you one who will be a father to you, and who loves you so much that for your welfare and for the sake of your immortal souls he does not hesitate to become one of you, to live and die with you”.
By faith Vivian Ogu, a fourteen (14) year old Nigerian girl accepted to die on November 15th, 2009, like St. Maria Gorreti, instead of yielding to sexual assault and defy herself and live.
By faith Sr. Henritta Alokha the principal of Bethlehem High School Lagos Nigeria on 8th March 2020 gave her life in trying to save her students in a heavy explosion in the School.
And by faith not without work, no matter the storm, we shall be victorious.
Believe, be faithful, be precautious, and be safe!
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