YEAR II: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: He has done all things well.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
HOMILY: READINGS: 1 Kings. 11: 29-32; 12: 19, Ps 81, Mark 7: 31-37 (Sts Cyril and Methodius)
The Church celebrates today the memorial of St Cyril and St Methodius who were Monk and Bishop respectively. Cyril was called Constantine and Methodius was his brother as they came from a Senatorial family in Thessalonica (Greece). Cyril after his ordination to the secular priesthood later joined the Monastery and his artist brother Methodius later entered the monastery in Bithynia as well after he retired his political position. Both were sent on mission to Khazars where they converted many people. When a request for Slavonic-speaking people was made who would be sent to Moravia, the two brothers were selected and sent. Cyril invented Glagothic alphabets and translated the liturgy into the Slav language; this made him the founder of Slav literature. Cyril later died in Rome and Methodius who was a Bishop of Moravia and Pannonia remained there. He was later deposed after false accusation due to the friction between the German and Slav clergy and imprisoned for three years till Pope John VIII freed him. Slavic was later replaced with Latin in the Mass and Methodius died on 6th April 885 in Valebrod. Also the Church celebrates yet another saint who has become so popular in the world today called St Valentine.
Beloved, Valentine was a Catholic Priest who dedicated his time and teaching in bringing engaged couples into fruitful and Chris-like courtship. He helped the youths know the true Christian love and lived a holy life himself. He has nothing to do with the worldly interpretation and use of love and amorous relationship between humans. For the fact that he taught people true love he has been misunderstood in the use and interpretation of love in sinful ways. He has been forced into the wrong interpretation and play of sinful and lustful life by the use of his name. Many things are today done on this day in the name of St Valentine and people call it Valentine’s Day or Valentine celebration. One would wonder if Valentine who is a saint would associate himself with such sinful ways that he preached against and a life he never lived and never approved would now as a saint be associated with it. Only God knows how he feels on a day like this when a lot of immorality and evil are committed across ages in the name of St Valentine. This is an intentional sin against him and against heaven. It is not a case of misunderstanding for the numerous educated and enlightened people but may be so for few unenlightened and uneducated who are feeble minded and easily deceived by the clever who twist facts to achieve their evil desires.
Let us remember that from beginning of creation to its completion God said that everything he made is good. Could this be self praise or justifying the works of his hands and not giving chance for others to appraise it? Everything about God is goodness and perfection. This can be a statement of faith of those with spiritual maturity not those who are struggling with life of the world and faith in Christ Jesus. For those who are not on the part of righteousness and spiritual rectitude, this statement is highly disputable. How can someone who faces punishment, pain and suffering accept that in God is the fullness of goodness and that everything about him is good? Have you at any time been in lack of anything and ask for favour from God and is denied? What would you say if you are in the shoes of Solomon who built God the highest and first temple in Jerusalem and kept faith till old age; who due to insurmountable pressure slacked to idolatry was told that his son would suffer for it? Can you see the justice and goodness of God in this predicament of abandonment and hash treatment?
Beloved, Solomon allowed the worship of alien gods to severe his relationship with God and he had to pay dearly for it. The trouble started and was faced by the one that can be called innocent successor of Solomon his son Jeroboam. The consequence of the evil and offense of Solomon was postponed or reserved for the man who was not there when it happened to suffer it. The peaceful and united Kingdom of Israel was to be stripped of him for the offense of his father.
Would he see the justice of God and his goodness since it bites him hard? When we are under the pain of God’s anger do we see any justification of God’s goodness even when we think we are innocent? I remember the old order that God would visit the offense of Fathers upon their children and children’s children even to the third and fourth generations. (Exodus 34: 6-7; Deut. 5: 8-10). I also remember the consequences of the sins of Adam and Eve (Original Sin) on the entire humanity till today. There is only one law giver who has right to judge everybody and everything (James 4: 12). Who can understand the mind of God or who has been his counsellor? (Romans 11: 34). God sees different from the way we see: For as the heaven is higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts (Isaiah 55: 9). How can mortal man understand the ways and judgment of God?
The truth of faith remains that God is all good and all perfection and whatever he does to us is right and just. The poor in faith accepts this when everything goes in his ways and favour. In the gospel the family of the man with deaf and dumb spirit or ailment would believe that God is good. No one except them can know the pains and sufferings and places they must have gone to seek healing for years all to no avail. Bringing this man to Jesus and receiving healing made them astonished beyond measure and they made the declaration of thanksgiving saying: He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf and the dumb to speak.
Beloved, no matter the situation you find yourself rise up to it and be mature spiritually and make the same proclamation that God does all things well and whatever he has allowed to happen in your life is good and for a kind and just purpose. We pray that we may have the heart to accept the justice of God and declare his goodness even when it is painful and detestable. We pray that God would meet us in our points of needs, in ailments and confused situation, in pain and want and in desperation and transform all to our good, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf (Sermon on Valentine, Cyril and Methodius is joined with today’s homily)