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Friday, 30 January 2015

Reflection/Homily: Fourth (4th) Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B (February 1 2015)



Reflection/Homily: Fourth (4th) Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (February 1 2015)
Theme: We too are called to be Prophets

A prophet is one called to communicate the mind of God to the people of God. But who knows the mind of God? While the mind of God is beyond human understanding, God reveals His mind to those He appointed to be prophets that they may communicate same to His people. Every age has need for prophets and throughout the ages, God has never failed to raise up prophets who will condemn evil and encourage righteousness. In the first reading (Deut. 18:15-20) we see God’s promise to the Israelites that He will raise up another prophet like Moses who will lead them. They are to recognize this prophet through the authority and integrity he will exercise in his words and actions. The gospel reading (Mark 1:21-28) presents Christ as the fulfillment of that promise. He appeared as a great prophet who communicated the mind of God to the people. In teaching them about God’s will, the gospel records that “his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority”. With this authority, as we saw in the gospel reading, he commanded even unclean spirits and they obeyed him. This confirms Jesus as the ideal prophet.


Throughout Jesus’ public ministry, he never failed to identify himself as a prophet through his words and actions. In exercising his prophetic role, he praised those whose lifestyles were praiseworthy as much as he rebuked those who acted contrary to the will of God.  Through the sacrament of baptism which Christ instituted, we come to share in his tripartite office as priest, prophet and king. By virtue of this sacrament, we too are called to be prophets after the example of Christ. Having received the Holy Spirit, we have been empowered by God to exercise our prophetic roles without fear or favour. As prophets, we are called not only to say the mind of God but also to do what is in the mind of God. Through the Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church, God gradually reveals His mind to us. Therefore, how faithfully have we been playing our prophetic roles in our society currently ravaged by evil? What is required for evil to triumph is the silence of God men. Have we ever spoken out to condemn the evil around us?

Our society is filled with sycophants and praise-singers who keep praising evil doers rather than encourage them to repent. Perhaps you have a friend/relation who is obviously doing the wrong thing, have you ever approached him/her to change for good? Some of us sit down and watch those around us graciously dwelling in immorality, corruption and all kinds of vices and instead of condemning these vices, we keep quiet so as to win their favour. Today, Jesus invites us to wake up to our prophetic roles by speaking out against all forms of injustice, oppression, immorality and indeed all forms of evil. Do not celebrate a wicked man, instead challenge him to repent. Say only the truth and do not speak or act to impress anyone for the first reading assures us that God’s wrath is on anyone who tells lies in the name of God.

Beloved friends, since the spirit we received at baptism is not the spirit of fear, do not allow the devil to inject fear into you and discourage you from performing your prophetic roles. You have to be prudent in the manner you confront people and do not allow your relationship with them to discourage you from challenging them to repent. That is why St Paul in the second reading advices us to give our undivided attention to the Lord and not allow anything prevent us from pleasing the Lord, not even our wives or husbands or family members. Like a virgin who has an undivided heart, let us commit ourselves to our prophetic roles and see to the conversion of our society. Even as our beloved country Nigeria prepares to elect new leaders, let us be courageous to do the good that is expected of us and avoid the evil we should deplore. Therefore, do not be afraid for the Lord who has called you is able. He has given you the authority to speak His Word without fear or favour. All we need to do is to be in constant touch with Him in prayer and be faithful for He is ever faithful. Then He will achieve greater things through us and in us. God loves you. Happy Sunday.             

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