YEAR B: HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: This is what I asked of the Lord.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
HOMILY: READINGS: 1 Sam. 1: 9-20, Resp. Ps. 1 Sam. 2: 1. 4-8, Mark 1: 21-28
No one can live in this world made by God without depending on God. Even if one behaves as if he/she is not, the truth remains that no one survives and solves all his/her problems save the intervention of God. We must live and manage problems while on earth and go back to God for things we cannot do for ourselves. Hannah saw God as the last resort and only solution to her problem. She went to the house of the Lord to cry out her heart and radically pray to God. Such prayer is radical and from the heart and it is such that touches God. God does not watch the true tears of pain from the heart of his children with inaction. He does something to change their plight and put smiles on their face.
In the first reading, Hannah went to God with heavy sorrowful heart and poured out her heart before God as if drunk with wine but with sorrow. She made a vow to the Lord as if her prayerful request was to be fulfilled on the condition of what she promised to do when the prayer is heard; her vow or oath to the Lord. The Lord fulfilled her request not because of her vow but because of mercy and pity, because of love and special care he has for his people. When humans are in trouble and great difficulty, they become desperate and make promises to God as if God is enticed or conditioned by their promises. God knows when our promises can be fulfilled or not but goes ahead to show us love. The psalm said: Make your vows to the Lord and fulfil it. We do make vows and solemn pronouncements to God but when we get all our requests done, we easily forget the need to appreciate really the deeds of the Lord and to fulfil our vows to the Lord; we behave as if we are cheats on God and clever than God. It is during the time to fulfil our vows that we bring conditions that make it impossible to fulfil it. We also tell God to understand and wait for us till whenever we are ready to fulfil it.
Beloved, Hannah made vows to God and in appreciation of God’s love, named the gift after her encounter with the Lord. He called the boy Samuel meaning: This is what I asked from the Lord (Kamsiri rio Chukwu; meaning of Samuel in Igbo language). We are supposed to use occasions of our encounter and blessing of the Lord to thank him and make it a memorable landmark in our lives such that daily its presence reminds us of the goodness of the Lord and becomes an opportunity to renew our love and thanksgiving to him.
It is this love of God that Jesus exhibited in the gospel today when he encountered the man with unclean spirit. He must have been wreathing in pains more than Hannah and seeking for solution but because what weighed him down possesses him without giving him chance to help himself or seek solution. Many of us find ourselves in the same situation like this demoniac and cannot help ourselves unless divine intervention does it. Jesus understood his predicament and intentionally walked on that road to encounter him and provide him an opportunity he sought for. The evil spirit tried to resist Jesus and disassociate itself from the supreme overlord of Jesus over every power. Jesus rebuked him and commanded him to leave the child of God to be free of encumbrances. The authority of Jesus or God to change our situations for good cannot be underrated. Jesus is always a new teaching and a new power to outrival all negative forces in our lives.
May we find strength in the Lord and exult for joy at his goodness. His power working in us shall make us laugh at whatever that becomes enemy in our lives. May the Lord in our weakness clothe us with strength and joy; may he lift us from the dust and dung heap and give us a glorious throne in the company of world princes, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf