YEAR A: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF LENT
HOMILY THEME: ‘ASSYRIA’ SHALL NOT SAVE US!
BY: Fr. Ben Agbo
HOMILY: *Hos 14:1-9, Mk 12:28 – 34.
‘Return, O Israel to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity… Assyria shall not save us and we will say no more ‘Our God’ to the work of our hands ‘.
The greatest offence we commit against God is idolatry. Many Christians still pay homage to the deities and idols which their ancestors worshipped; the ‘omabas’, the ‘akatakpas’ and the ‘odos’ are idols worshipped in form of masquerades. We cannot be deceived to call them cultural entertainment forgetting their religious background. Today these masquerades, inspite of our modernity /claim onto Christianity are still disturbing the normal social and religious activities of believers. No serious masquerade cult can exist without an idolatrous background.
Many Christians still pay nocturnal visits to fortune tellers and invoke the wicked spirits of deities like ‘Ohe’ of Nimbo, ‘Ube’ of Ihunowerre and other dangerous idols in places like Enugu Ezike, Opi, Edem and Ede Oballa (all around Nsukka region) to come and fight for them when they feel threatened by enemies or thieves. By so doing, they enter into dangerous communion with these idols which negatively affect their spiritual life in the future.
Many Christians use charms for protection /defense against their enemies, use medicines provided by occulticdibias and involve themselves in ‘pagan’ funerals full of idolatrous rituals, divinations and worship. They do this either directly or indirectly through village contributions. Today’s 1st reading sees all these as the ‘Assyria’ that shall not save us.
Love of God and love of neighbour is the supreme commandment. Loving God with all your heart pushes all your interest on him and results into a wholistic praise worship ; loving God with all your soul implies setting your will so strongly on living a good moral life in obedience to God’s commandments ; loving God with all your mind entails concentrating your intellect on the study of the Word of God through the Bible and the teachings of the Church ; loving God with all your strength means using a good part of your physical, financial and social energy in devotion to God – joining some pious societies, being punctual to Sunday mass, Evening Bible study, daily morning mass, etc.
Loving your neighbour begins at home with your parents, wife and children, avoiding quarrels, impure love (lust), stealing, cheating, gossip and avarice. Without this, our practice of Christianity is hypocritical. John says : ‘Beloved, let us love one another because love is from God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God’. Many are only claiming to be Christians but they are not until they learn to love God and neighbour. ‘Assyria’ shall not save us; selfishness and Idol worship shall not save us. The present scourge of dangerous diseases like the Corona Virus, etc, all remind us that as soon as God withdraws his grace from humanity, the whole world could die in just one month.
May God bless you today!