YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: THE DANGER OF MATERIALISM
BY: Fr Emmanuel Uchechukwu Muodebelu C.S.Sp
(Amos 7:12-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13).
Most times, there exists a fierce rivalry, jealousy, envy, unhealthy competitions among the professional colleagues; men of God alike. I have seriously pondered on what could possibly be the cause. I came to the conclusion that jealousy envy and fierce rivalry stem from the love of money and interest on material gains. Most often, we do not feel secured when we do not do things from the Spirit of service. Our selfish interest always make us to lose value of our vocation and go after material things. This leads us to envy and unhealthy comparison with our colleagues. In such situations, we tend to look for any possible way to maneuver them, or possibly to do away with them.
In the first reading of today, we saw prophet Amos who was not interested in praising the king and the rich people. He prophesied the mind of God to Jeroboam, King of Israel. He told the king and the leaders the consequences of evil and the wrath of God that was to befall on them. We also read about Amaziah, the priest of Bethel who attacked Amos. Amaziah was receiving money for his services to the king’s palace. He was a professional prophet while, Amos was a herdsman chosen by God. Therefore, Amaziah, the hired prophet saw Amos as a rivalry. That was why he conspired with the king to silence Amos. This first reading of today points accusing finger on the men of God who only preach prosperty Gospel and sing the praises of bad leaders. Beneath their prophecy is quest for material gains.
Jesus told His chosen apostles in the Gospel about the danger of material things. He highlighted the importance of Detachment in spreading the Gospel. He mandated them to take nothing for their journey except a staff. They were able to perform many miracles and even cast out demons because they were not distracted by excess quest for material gains. Jesus also sent them in twos because he knew the danger of individualism.
Brethren the ability to detach from material things is the beginning of authentic prophecy. Putting our minds in the materialism blindfolds us from realizing our vocation. Materialism also kills the spirit of service and brotherhood among us. It gives rise to selfishness, greed, jealousy, lose of value and unhealthy rivalry. 1 Timothy 6:10 said, “the love of money money is the root of all evil’ and there are some who, pursuing it, have wandered away from the faith.” This can be confirmed in the life of the false prophet, Amaziah. He was interested in the material benefits. He saw the task of a prophet as a profession instead of a vocation. Hence, he found it difficult to share a territory with prophet Amos. Jesus told us in Matthew 6:24 that we cannot be the slave of both God and money.
The questions we are going to ask ourselves today is, “am I prophet Amaziah (the false prophet) or prophet Amos ( the true prophet of God)? Do I see my work as a vocation or a profession? Do I prefer money to human life or good name? Can I co-exist with my professional colleagues or, do I envy them in our area of service, work or business? If so, what is the reason? When we answer these questions, they will give us the idea of where we belong. We can manipulate people with our gifts of oratory or charisma but, God knows His prophet.
God called each one of us to preach the Gospel with our vocation. He also warns us to detach ourselves from the quest from for materialism. To realise this, God wants us to coexist with other people especially those who have the same vocation as we have. They are our colleagues who will help us to be our best. We cannot exist alone because no tree can make a forest. Jesus knew why He sent His apostles in twos. Let us accomodate our colleagues, and not see them as our rivalries. Let us use our work to serve our society well. Let s detach from excess quest from material things. Let us accept our colleagues. Let us avoid envy and rivalry. Let us obey our master Jesus who has called us. Either Jesus or nothing. Jesus is our all.
Happy Sunday and a blessed week.
Fr Emmanuel Uchechukwu Muodebelu C.S.Sp
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