Homily for Wednesday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Homily for Wednesday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: THE DEBT OF LOVE : Against favouritism and covetousness.

By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)

Homily for Wednesday November 3 2021

Now, if the person you love comes to you asking for a favor, would you spend time analyzing the manner in which the person asked

Homily for Wednesday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: THE DEBT OF LOVE : Against favouritism and covetousness.

By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)

Homily for Wednesday November 3 2021

*Rom 13 : 8 – 10, Lk 14 : 25 – 33.
Paul says it very succinctly in today’s 1st reading that we should owe no one anything except the debt of love. Once you love your neighbour, you have fulfilled the whole law. The greatest enemy of love is the vice of selfishness, stealing and covetousness. That is why 6 out of God’s 10 commandments were devoted to sins related to stealing. Murder (5th) is taking someone’s life. Adultery (6th) is related to stealing because it entails snatching somebody’s wife or husband. Theft (7th) is taking someone’s property. Slander (8th) is taking someone’s good name. The 9th and 10th commandments have to do with coveting the property of our neighbour’s wife or that of our neighbour directly. Some think that they do not steal but they covet another’s good with their influence. For example, a building contractor who secretly takes commission from the labourers’ wage is actually robbing that labourer in order to do him/ her a favour. All forms of bribery and corruption we see in Nigeria today are due to the sin of covetousness and this is due to selfishness/ lack of love. Covetousness is quasi stealing.

In some parastatals that employ workers, example the University, most of the time, the men at the top may generously want to give poor people jobs without taking bribes but the middle men through whom the list of employees get to them are full of covetousness and lying. They collect money from people secretly only to give the big men their own share in the form of gifts and tie their conscience. This is the problem of sycophancy. Every leader is usually surrounded by sycophants who pretend to love them but actually have a covetous heart. Leaders must beware of such people. Justice and equity demands that charity begins at home but should not stay only there. It extends to others. Injustice takes place when better people for a job is displaced for lower ones just because they have connection.

The 1st reading warns us that the kind of love we should have does no wrong to our neighbour. In the gospel, Jesus places a metaphorical caveat on all Christians: ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple’. The Greek word used here for hate is ‘misei’ which could also mean ‘prefer’ or ‘to love less’. Hating yourself or your relations is simply a higher level of spirituality that removes all forms of favouritism and covetousness. I think it is actually when a man/ woman is given some power and influence that his/ her level of spirituality (love of God and neighbour) is tested. At this level, the person must prove that what he/ she does is directed by ‘agape love’ (charity) and not mere ‘filia’ ( friendly or brotherly love). May God bless you today!


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