YEAR A: HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: HANNAH’S PRAYER!
BY: Fr. Ben Agbo
HOMILY: *1 Sam 1: 9 – 20, Mk 1: 21 – 28.
Hannah’s prayer is one of the best Old Testament paradigms that can be used in Spiritual Theology to make a meaningful x-ray on the dynamics of radical prayer /praying in the spirit. Her prayer was radical but spiritual, emotional but realistic, humble but authoritative. Let’s discuss it from the following 5 perspectives;
- PRAYING FROM A BURDEN: Hannah was a complete victim of the negative effects of polygamy and because she could not conceive, she was terribly ravaged emotionally by her ‘nwunye di’ (second wife). But she decided to take all her burdens to the Lord in prayer (at the Chapel).
PRAYING WITH A VOW: It was a prayer of petition accompanied with a vow. Vows make our petitions stronger and more sacrificial, eg the Nazirite vow and the Celibate vow.
PRAYING ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD: Most important is the fact that what she was requesting was not against the will of God. When the scriptures say that ‘God remembered her’, it was not that God sometimes forgets her children but sometimes due to circumstance beyond our control, we fall under the control of certain spiritual and physical forces that place us unavoidably in a condition of misery. It requires a higher authority to revoke the situation. According to Vima Dasan, ‘Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but co-operating with his willingness. Prayer is our greatest privilege, greatest responsibility and greatest power God has put into our hands’. Let’s never be tired of praying fervently to God in our condition of misery and burden.
PRAYING THROUGH THE HELP OF A PRIEST: Just look at the gospel situation of today when an unclean spirit possessing a man had to bow to the authority and holiness of Christ. It is the same dispensation with the 1st reading where the spiritual authority of Eli was needed to free Hannah from her condition of barrenness. Nobody knows the cause of her barenness. It may be ancestral, physiological or spiritual.
PRAYING WITH FAITH : As soon as Eli told her to go in peace with a promise that God will grant her petition , she went away in faith and her countenance changed, Phil 4 : 1- 4. She became optimistic again and in that mood did the needful – made sufficient love to her husband until everything clicked. We just need to learn a lot from this story. Let’s never be tired of praying fervently to God in our condition of misery. He will surely remember us someday as He remembered Hannah.
May God bless you today!