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YEAR C: HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: What Have You Left Behind?
BY: Fr. Evaristus
HOMILY: “And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother… And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him.” (Mark 1:18-20)
Following Jesus is never all all-rosy ride. It demands letting go, leaving things behind, putting up with a lot of sacrifices and bearing a painful cross. This is what we learn from the behaviour of the disciples in today’s Gospel passage. The moment Jesus called them, without wasting any time, they left their nets; their means of livelihood and followed Jesus.
Why was it necessary for them to leave everything behind for Jesus’ sake? The answer to this question is simple: “You cannot serve both God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13). For the twelve, it was necessary for them to leave everything behind even their own family member and close relationships because the work of winning souls demands their complete attention.
While the twelve disciples actually left everything behind, we are not told if the crowds who followed Jesus also left everything behind. Nevertheless, the fact remains that following Jesus at all demands a certain level of letting go and breaking off from the world. As Jesus would say: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25).
Following Jesus demands a certain level of detachment, it demands knowing that you do not belong to this world. Following Jesus requires a change of priority whereby God comes before anything else. The rich young man walked away from Jesus in sadness because he could not afford to let go of his wealth in other to be a follower of Jesus. Unlike the disciples who left everything behind, this young man had turned his riches into his god.
However, when we look at our world today, we notice that the reverse has become the case. Instead of disciples leaving everything behind to follow Jesus, the ministry has become a lucrative enterprise, a means of making money and enriching oneself even to the point of boasting about it and showing off one’s excessive wealth. Instead of being detached, we are super-attached to worldly prosperity, we take the vow of poverty yet we live large, we are now the ones even teaching our people how to become rich and how to succeed in business.
Every young man or woman wants to open a church or a ministry just to be like one of these popular ministers whose names always make the list of the nation’s richest men and women. This trend has become so rampant that we can no longer distinguish the genuine from the fake.
We the people are also at fault given that we have turned the worship of God into the worship of mammon. We flock these so-called centres seeking for quick answers to all our material problems, we are ready to do whatever the man or woman of God says in hope of becoming rich and prosperous. We complain that the Catholic liturgy is dull and dry but are unable to see the level of deception and manipulation going on out there. We have forced our ministers to look down on what they have and try to copy these self- acclaimed popular television stars.
May God help us return to Jesus who is the truth, the way and the life. May God deliver us from the error of reducing and limiting the blessings of God to mere material prosperity. May God so touch the many fake ministers who are merely using his name as a cover for self- enrichment and cheap popularity. May Christians everywhere realize the truth that worship of God demands living as pilgrims here on earth.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, the apostles left everything to follow me, free me from the worship of wealth. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Hebrews 1:1-6, Psalm 97, and Mark 1:14-20).