YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 33RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: WORTHY IS THE LAMB.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
_“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!.” *Revelation 5:11-12*_
In Genesis 22, 1 to 12, we encounter the story of how God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as a test of his faith. Precisely in verse 7, Isaac asked Abraham, “we have fire and wood, but where is the lamb?” and Abraham said, “God would provide.” Moving into the book of Exodus chapter 12, we see Moses instructing the Israelites about the Passover. Each family was to take an unblemished lamb and smear their doors with its blood. In this way, the Angel of death would pass over their houses.
When we go through Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and so on, we would discover that each time the Bible makes mention of the lamb, it does so from the perspective of sacrifice. In Samuel 7:9, Samuel took a lamb without stain and offered it as a burnt offering to the Lord. In verses 10 to 12, we read: “As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel; but the LORD thundered with a mighty voice that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were routed before Israel.”
Isaiah 53, 7 we read: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” When Jeremiah was being oppressed for saying the truth, he said in 11, 19: “But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter!”
Now, coming down to the New Testament, we hear John the Baptist introducing Jesus to the crowd in these very words: “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” It is at this point that we get to understand who this lamb really is.
The lamb Abraham said God would provide, the lamb that was sacrificed in Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, the lamb Samuel offered and the prophets spoke about is Jesus Christ. As Peter would say: “You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.” 1 Peter 1, 18 to 19.
No wonder coming to the last book of the Bible, we hear one song: Worthy indeed is the lamb! Indeed, worthy is the Lamb “to receive the scroll and break open its seals, for you were slain and with your Blood, you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth.”
Today, we remember St. Cecilia, a virgin and Martyr and the patroness of choristers and musicians. The story of her life is itself a great homily. Here was a woman who was so close to God that vowed her virginity as an offering to God. Like a lamb, St. Theresa gave what was most precious to her as a gift to God and was determined to remain pure till death.
She was given in marriage to Valerian and during her wedding ceremony, she sang her heart to God. This is why she is the patroness of musicians. On her wedding night, when it was time to consummate the marriage, she told her husband of her vow and added that an Angel was protecting her. Valerian wanted to see the Angel. She then asked him to go the Appian Way where he was baptized by Pope Urbanus. Upon Valerian’s return, he actually saw an Angel beside Cecilia. Then Angel then crowned Cecilia with a chaplet of rose and lily. This incidence converted Valerian’s brother and both decided to take upon themselves the task of burying the saints who were murdered each day by the Roman Prefect. Both brothers were eventually arrested and executed for refusing to offer a sacrifice to the gods.
Cecilia spent the remainder of her life preaching until she was martyred. In 1599, her body was exhumed and it was found to be completely incorrupt. Not only was her body still fresh and intact, but there was also a sweet perfume scent oozing from it like the saint of fresh flowers. What more can we say about this beautiful lamb?
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, worthy are you for you are the Lamb of our Salvation, teach me that there is nothing in this life that I may offer my whole being to you daily. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time. Year B. Bible Study: Revelation 5:1-10 Psalm 149:1-6.9 and Luke 19:41-44).