YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 22ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: INPUTS AND OUTPUTS
BY: Fr. Christian Eze
First reading – Deut. 4:1-2.6-8
Second reading – James 1:17-18.21-22.27
Gospel – Mk 7:1-8.14-15.21-23
Growing up, I was in love with electronic gadgets. My joy was in spending time with some of these appliances like amplifiers, speakers, radios and so on. I took interest in connecting and disconnecting, plugging and unplugging; sometimes I would spoil them more. It was there that I learnt the terms and principles of inputs and outputs. Inputs refers to signal, either sound, current or wave coming from the outside and going into a device. On the other hand, outputs are the signals, current, sound or wave coming from the device to the outside. A device cannot be rated or regarded as such based on what goes into it (inputs), rather our concern is much on what comes out of it after all. Only that can make us say, “the sound is clear”, “it is loud”, “the light is dull” and so on. Good to know, the productivity of such is based on how best it was able to synthesize the input signal it has received. We must also know that an appliance cannot control an impute given to it, yet, it has control over how it reacts to what it has received. A very high voltage may be given into it for instance, it is left for it to let the fuse blow out, or get damaged completely. Today Jesus says clearly that it is not what goes into a man (inpute) that defiles him [or defines him], rather, it is what comes out of him (output).
If we look at it very well, we have so many things that act upon us as inputs. What nature gives us is an input. What our environment does to us is also an input; and what our fellow human beings do to us is an input too. We have no powers to control what we receive either from nature or nurture. But how we chose to react to them is basically ours to decide. A child born without fingers for instance, receives that as an input from nature. What he makes out of it is what defines him/her. He may decide to go to the streets and beg for a living, and he/she may also choose to refuse to beg but struggles to adapt to the strange condition and become exceptionally productive. That fit is the output that eventually defines him/her. Again, a man may unfortunately marry a nagging wife. That is also an “inpute device”. When the wife starts nagging, he may decide to keep silent, walk away and let the house be peaceful. He may also decide to respond, slap her and set the house on fire. That becomes the output which defiles (defines) his family.
Many people let what goes into them (their inputs) define them. What goes into a man is the litmus test of what is inside a man. I have heard the saying “when you shake a bottle it spills out what the content is”. What goes into a man shakes him to bring out the content of a man. This is why different people react differently to same provocation. One man can see a half naked lady (input) and drop everything else to run after her (output). Another man can see same lady, shakes his head in pity and walks away. Anybody may get you offended, but you have the right to take offense or “drop” the offense. Life may treat you harshly, but you have the right to follow it calmly. How do you react to what goes into you? What do you bring out for the external world to consume? Do not forget, that is what defiles (defines) you.