YEAR B: HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 23RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: The Law of Love Supersedes All Other Laws.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
_“I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” *(Luke 6:9)*_
There is a story of a housemaid who while cleaning the sitting room one day mistakenly broke an expensive piece of art. She almost lost her job in the process but for the timely intervention of her parents who pleaded for a second chance. The owner of the house then gave her a strict warning never to touch anything in the sitting room again. This was a law she was determined to keep.
One day, the housemaid was home alone when she noticed the smell of smoke emanating from a faulty extension box beside the television in the sitting room. But instead of going there to disconnect it, she was bent of obeying the law given to her. She continued her duty in the kitchen while the entire electronic devices in the sitting room caught fire.
Could this be our attitude to the commandments of God?
In today’s Gospel passage, we see how Jesus silenced his detractors who were bent on finding fault against him by all means. There was a man with a withered hand right there and it was a Sabbath day. The law simply states: “Obey the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” But over time, this law had been stretched to imply: “Do not work on the Sabbath Day, not even to cook your own meal.”
Jesus was well aware of the law and he knew the implication of healing this man on the Sabbath day. Jesus also realized there was one law which the Pharisees were not aware of; the law of doing good or better put, the Law of Love. So Jesus asked them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?”
Sometimes, in our hot pursuit of justice, we actually forget the law of love. We forget that as much as God would be pleased with our strict obedience to his laws, there is no law greater than loving our neighbour as ourselves.
In our first reading, St. Paul warns the Corinthian Church against the spread of immorality in their midst. He said: “Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?” Evil usually starts very small, in fact, with just one person. Like a single strike of matchstick on a hot afternoon, evil spreads like a fire razing down a whole forest. The more we condone what we often refer to as “little evil,” the less we are capable of controlling the larger full-scale evils.
Part of the law of love is removing from the midst of the church anybody who is bent on promoting and exulting evil. When we look at the present crisis rocking the church following the call on the Pope himself to resign, we see that at the root of the issue is the failure on the part of persons who were at the helm of affairs to identify and completely delete evil in its very early stages. The real scandal is that a man who was found guilty remained in office and continued to rise in power despite the obvious allegations against him.
One lesson we must learn from this crisis is that our indifference to evil is actually equivalent to our promotion of evil. If we fail to remove evil people from our midst, it is either we support evil ourselves or lack the courage to stand up for good. And if we lack the courage to stand up for good for fear of persecution, then a question mark can be placed on our Christian maturity given that Jesus himself told us to take up our cross daily and follow him.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me to fully understand the spirit of your Law. Amen. Happy new week.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1 Corinthians 5:1-8, Psalm 5:5-12 and Luke 6:6-11).