YEAR A: HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK OF LENT
HOMILY THEME: Jesus is a man of contradiction; we too must contradict the ways of the world.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
HOMILY: READINGS: Jeremiah 11: 18-20, Ps. 7, John 7: 40-52
At the presentation of Jesus Christ in the temple the great holy man Simeon prophesied about him by telling the world the type of person Jesus Christ would be to the world: This child is destined for the rise and fall of many in Israel… and a sign to be contradicted. His three years earthly public ministry was filled with controversy and his life was all the time misunderstood.
His ways are so radical that the people felt he has come to abolish the law and change the status quo. He made it clear that he has come not to abolish but to fulfil and that till heaven and earth pass away, not a word, an atom, or a little stroke of the law shall be removed. Yet he was not understood; he was a threat to them and a person to pay serious attention to his ways and find fault with him. His ways are different from the earlier prophets and great men who had disciples; this created an atmosphere of hostility and enmity between Jesus and Jewish sects and religious groups such as the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Sanhedrins, the Zealots, the Essenes and the rest. Each group had something confusing and unacceptable in his teachings and ways of life. A close look at this reveals the truth of the prophecy of Simeon about him: A man to be rejected. In these close days to his passion, great hostility has arisen and things seem to have fallen apart and surly the centre cannot hold. Everything Jesus says now is misunderstood and the people are fed up with him and determined to kill him so as to have “peace” He is for them an outlaw who has come to infect the society with unacceptable doctrines.
Beloved, just as yesterday as written in the first reading of the book of wisdom, the prophet Jeremiah presents a similar scenario of the plans of the wicked to undo the righteous. All that the prophet says are referring to Jesus. The Lord opened the eyes of Jesus to the scheming of the world; little wonder he said: One of you would betray me. In another he said to Peter, before the cook crows you would have denied me. The son of man is destined to suffer and to be rejected by the chief priests and elders and be killed but he will rise up on the third day. Jesus being God knew of all these impending evil plans to destroy him and to kill him. He was determined to die the death the Father has apportioned him. Their evil plots were to correspond to the will of the Father. It was not like they are doing God’s will but did it wickedly with bad intention of hatred and to end the mission he came to do in the world. This was why Jesus said: But woe to the man through whom the son of man is to be betrayed. Jesus was to cooperate with his father to achieve his will which was to die this death to save humanity. So he acted like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughterhouse, not knowing the schemes they were plotting against him (But in his case, he knew of the schemes). They said: Let us destroy the tree in its strength; let us cut it off from the land of the living so that his name may be quickly forgotten. The plan of the people was to destroy Jesus from his root and make no remembrance of him to exist; but the Father is mightier than them and has destined that this religion would last forever and his teachings endure. It is the Lord who took vengeance for him and sustained him in their evil plot.
Beloved, this man of contradiction confused the people in the gospel; some were rising by believing in him while some were falling by refusing to accept that he is from God. Some agreed that he is a prophet and some said he is the Christ. Beloved we as true followers of Christ must also be sign of contradicting this wicked and sinful world in their ways. The people in their plots against Jesus got entangled in confusion to the extent that the police officially sent to arrest him left their duty undone and were convinced that he is the Christ. Nicodemus received insight from God to speak the truth and demanded that the just should not be condemned without a fair hearing even thought they attacked him for the truth he upheld. Opposition to the truth must not stop us from upholding and working for the truth.
Beloved, let us ask God to be our refuge who will hide us from our pursuers and rescue us from their evil plots. We pray that the Lord would uphold the judgment in our lives when enemies and the wicked go against us. Lord. Put an end to the evil of the wicked, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf