YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: GOD CANNOT BE USED; HE’S NO MAGICIAN
BY: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
HOMILY: READINGS: 1SAMUEL 4:1-11, PSALM 44, MARK 1:40-45
I see people use sacramentals mechanically; some tie rosaries round their bikes, their car mirrors, wrists et al. I remember my bishop saying (when he saw a crown of thorns on my dashboard) “this is jujulisation”. We carry sacramentals that should help us pray but we hardly use them to pray. How different then, are we from the Israelites?
Why were the Israelites defeated and the Ark of the Covenant, (God’s presence among them) captured? Were the Philistines and there gods more powerful than the Israelites and the Almighty God? NO, they weren’t! What then really happened?
God indeed was present in the Ark of the Covenant, he was very much present in the whole of Israel as he is today. The custodians of the Ark of the Covenant and religion at large were however stained. “Now the sons of Eli were WICKED; they had respect neither for the Lord nor for the priest’s duties towards the people” (1Sam. 2:12-13). Moreover, they behaved promiscuously with the women and when their father Eli called them to order, they disregarded his warning (1Sam. 2:22-25). God was displeased and sent word of doom to Eli’s house: …I will honour those who honour me, but those who despise me shall be cursed…your sons will all die on the same day (1Sam. 2:30-34). Obviously, God wasn’t happy with his people as led by Hophni and Phinehas, the corrupt and irreligious sons of Eli. He therefore let them fall to the Philistines, hence calling them back to him in repentance and submission.
God’s graces and favours on us are gratuitous, yes; however, he cannot be USED. We merit more of God’s protection and blessings when we righteously follow his dictates and serve him religiously. The spiritual and faithful servant of God needs no tabernacle with the Holy Eucharist reposed in it by his side before evil flees from him. More so, God is no magician, his sacramentals are no charms, amulets, etc. to be used mechanically to ward off aggressors. Fidelity to him, chaste living, prayerful and constant use of these articles endears us closer to God. It is foolish to think we can USE God like sorcerers do with their pills and portions and enchantments – a mistake the Israelites made and bore the fatal consequence.
We all have sinned and fallen short of God’s graces and so are susceptible to defeat and the predating claws of the enemy. Today therefore, we approach Christ like the leper of Mark 1:40-45 begging him to make us clean again. Today is a call on God to redeem us with his merciful love (Ps. 44:27b).
Consequently, today is a reminder that we avoid the wicked and disrespectful attitudes of Hophni and Phinehas else no sacramental or any religious objects carried mechanically will save us. Today dear friends is a reminder to live righteously before God always that so, when we approach him like the leper did, he will hearken to our call and save us.
FEED AND EDUCATE ONE