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YEAR B: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 33RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: EATING THE BITTER SCROLL.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
_“And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it; it was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, ‘You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.’” *Revelation 10:10-11*_
What tastes sweet in one’s mouth only to become bitter in the stomach? It is the word of God; it is the TRUTH. When we speak the truth, it is sweet in our mouths and sweet in the ears of those who hear it but when we reflect on the truth, we feel the bitterness in our stomachs. No wonder, the saying goes that “Truth is bitter.” The truth is that truth is neither bitter nor sweet.
If we say truth is bitter, its bitterness is like medicine which brings healing, life and eternal happiness. Jesus told us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. When we come close to Jesus, we find the narrow way, the path least travelled. As we move in this narrow way, we would become disturbed by the truth. The disturbance of the truth or rather the bitterness of the truth helps to wash away our imperfections, ignorance and blindness.
Dear friends, just as John was asked to eat the scroll, we too are called to eat the word of God every day. Jesus said: “Man shall not live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4. Nevertheless, let us be warned ahead that feeding on God’s word is not like feeding on rice and chicken. This is because “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.
For us to truly get the full worth of God’s word, we must ensure that we do not focus only selected Bible verses. This is one issue I have with the Gospel of Prosperity. Certain verses are over-emphasized again and again and no mention is made of their proper context. The failing Nigerian economy coupled with the overwhelming hardship in the land has indeed led many preachers into feeding the people with what they like to hear rather than the whole truth. Our Churches today are entertainment centres of some sort!
If Jesus was to visit our churches today like he did in today’s Gospel passage, I bet there would be so much to throw away, so many buttocks to be flogged and so many money-changers (money-chasers) to be driven out. Jesus cleansed the temple in Jerusalem because money was gradually taking the place of God there. Today, money is still an important factor in our churches. It has gotten so bad that many are assuming they can even buy the sacraments, buy blessings or buy forgiveness. Dear friends, please keep your money at home. The church is a house of prayer not a place of commerce. God’s blessings are free of charge!
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus may truth never leave my mouth despite its bitterness. Amen.
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time. Year B. Bible Study: Revelation 10:8-11 Psalm 119:14-131 and Luke 19:45-48).