YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Knowing the One to Listen to
BY: Fr. Luke Ijezie
HOMILY: Deut 18:15-20; Psalm 94; 1Cor 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28
- We live in a world filled with many voices. Most of the time these are discordant voices. Some contradict each other and some are too noisy to be heard. Some pretend to hold the truth and many pretend to have answers to all problems. In this confusion and cacophony of voices, we are often confused whom to follow. The social media voices are even more confusing. Fake news merchants are ever there to misdirect in every situation. Since the Corona virus pandemic, there has been an avalanche of conspiracy theories and divergent explanations and solutions. On the political front, many false messiahs fill the space with deceptive ideas. There are many ideological voices that have led us astray and continue mislead us. The readings of today present to us the true one to listen to, to follow and to obey.
The first reading from Deut 18:15-20 presents the one to listen to as the prophet appointed by God Himself. For God’s people, this is a prophet like Moses, appointed to mediate God’s words to the people. This type of divine mouthpiece is given to every generation. But the text is quick to warn that there will arise many other false voices pretending to speak in God’s Name. The people must avoid them at all costs. Such false prophets and ravenous voices are found in every age and they abound in our society today. The psalmist encourages us not to harden our hearts so that we may hear the true voice that saves.
The Gospel reading from Mark 1:21-28 presents this new prophet like Moses as Jesus who comes as the authoritative last Prophet. The scene in the Synagogue in Capernaum, as Jesus teaches, is very significant and instructive. The unclean spirits recognize him and begin to shout: we know you. Have you come to destroy us? This means that evil spirits also find their way into the Synagogue. In fact they find themselves in many places, holy and unholy, and cause confusion in the community of God’s people. They have their agents and their false ideologies which they use to confuse people and cause tension and disorder in the society. But there is also the fact that these evil forces fear Jesus because they see him as a threat to their evil kingdom. They hate him because they are masters of falsehood and he has come to proclaim the truth. He has come to destroy them.
Truly, Jesus has come to destroy all forces that hold people in bondage. He has come to liberate us from all that makes it difficult to hear the true message of God and get healed. All he wants is that we listen to him. We easily get hooked to the forces of evil when we fail to give full attention to God and His Message. This is exactly what Paul tells his audience in the second reading of today from 1Cor 7:32-35. It is a very complex text, but the general message is that we should not be so preoccupied with the world and its attractions that we forget our real vocations. Whether married or unmarried, we are all called by God and each call has its demands. Some are called to sanctify the temporal sphere through their dedication to social and family issues while some are called to contemplation and holiness of life through undistracted devotion to religious affairs. In whichever sphere we find ourselves, we must remember that it is God we owe the ultimate allegiance.
There is always the danger of hearing false voices and obeying false calls because they appeal to us. People like false messages and fake news that confirm their fears and desires. In this way, they are distracted from the truth. Our society is filled with many such distractions, all aimed at confusing and exploiting us.
We pray that we may today hear the true voice of God which He speaks to us through his word and through the Church. May His word continue to set us free from the many dangers that threaten us and our society today!
Fr. Luke Ijezie