YEAR A: HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK OF ADVENT
HOMILY THEME: Lord I am not worthy to have you under my roof.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
HOMILY: READINGS: Isaiah 4: 2-6, Ps. 122, Matthew 8: 5-11
Even though the season of Advent does not have the penitential nature of Lent yet it demands penitence for many to be worthy to receive the Holy One of Israel. We are expecting the coming of the Son of God and he is the one that is holiness incarnate and does not accommodate iniquitous life or persons. Even though he comes to be friends to sinners and to redeem them yet, he does not like sin that is why he came to undo the deeds of sin in man. His first coming is to teach sinners the way to the Father but that is gone and is done today as a commemoration. What is relevant to us in this present age is his second coming which is to judge the living and the dead according to our deeds and adherence to his ways he came to teach. His second and final coming is to ransom the righteous and to abandon the sinners to a place of torment and grinding of teeth. This is why it is relevant for us now to be penitent, reject sin, repent and be in a state of holiness. It is on this note that the confession of faith of the Centurion is very note worthy for us in this season.
Beloved, no matter how we think we are trying and living a good life, we can never be worthy to have Jesus the Holy One of God under our roof (in our hearts and life). His holiness is immeasurable and surpassing. No human being on earth can be worthy at any time to have Jesus except the grace of God purifies us specially. Even when Jesus was called the Holy One by the Jews, he declined and said that no one is holy but God alone. Here he did not say he is a sinner but as human as they see him to be, he makes it clear that everyone who is human as they see him cannot be holy like God. So for us to become beneficiaries of his coming this season, we must strive to live a life of reasonable worthiness that his grace can accommodate.
We must like the Centurion show love to everyone including those under us; those we may call slaves and servants. This is a strong signal to the human beings in Libya who see the Black-skinned people as animals for sacrifice and trading. They are being barbaric and going back to the Dark Age practices of slave trading that has been abolished long ago due to civilization. This act shows their level of civility and illiteracy about what makes someone human and how a fellow human being should be treated. The Centurion teaches us to value our fellow human beings despite class and colour differences. He sees God in everybody despite his social status and deserves charity and help to be fine. He teaches us not to discriminate among humans or feel very important due to our present position in the society. He teaches us genuine and true love for all especially those under our care. This is leadership as service. A strong lesson that our leaders must learn not just buy saying they are servant but killing us with insensitivity, selfishness and greed. Any master or leader who cannot sacrifice for the wellbeing of his subject is inhuman and an enemy to the people. The Centurion teaches us the virtue of respect for a higher authority and fear of God. He teaches us also the virtue of humility and seeing everything we have and are as gifts from God and not for boasting and suppression and oppression of the less privileged. These are lessons he has left us as pattern of life to be adopted for this Advent.
Beloved, we need to do things right so that the prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading would be relevant in our lives. Let it come to pass in our days that the mountain of the house of God shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills so that all the nations shall flow to it. Figuratively he uses the mountains here to depict the dwelling place of God. There are human dwelling places and there is God’s, so when we prepare well then we are making God’s mountain to be established in our lives as the highest mountain than those of the world and we shall make all people know it and come to it.
Let us in this season allow the grace of Christ to beat our swords into ploughshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Let us stop things of war and enmity both as individuals and as groups. Christ comes to inaugurate peace to the troubled world may we enter into that mood and spirit in this season, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf