BE CONTENT WITH WHATEVER YOU HAVE
(Homily for Friday 8 February, 2019)
The issue of love has become a household name among all the Christian virtues and it occurs almost every time in our liturgy. No wonder then Christ identifies this virtue as the mother of all the virtues and the greatest of them all.
This is because God Himself is love and those who worship Him must live in love in order for them to claim the real children of God. That is why love is appearing every time in our liturgy to remind us the absolute necessity of living in love and allows it to rule our Christian world and lives.
The first reading today goes on to encourage us to continue to love each other like brothers and sisters. Real Brotherly or sisterly love is that which comes from the heart, from our inmost being not a lip service form of love or love that ends after the kiss or sign of peace in the Church.
How we live and relate with people indicate the extent of our love for them not necessarily from those who belong from among us but with strangers as well. Though the corrupt nature of our society and the fear of the unknown often times make people to be afraid of entertaining strangers and showing them love as well. But that notwithstanding, we should try our possible best not to be discouraged by that as the first reading puts it that some people have entertained angels without knowing as a result of showing love to strangers.
The gospel of today however, presents a sharp contrast of what real love is all about. The gospel of today is one of touching passages in the Bible, the story of how John the Baptist was killed. I will like us to have a little reflection on that today and maybe we will talk more on this when the Church will celebrate the Beheading of the John the Baptist.
Today I want us to see the level of man's inhumanity to man. The high point of human wickedness as a result of selfish ambition, interest and human pride. Just come to think of it why Herod killed John because he made an oath before his guests and would not want to go back to it. Yes, he would not go back to it because another person’s life is involved. Why this extreme form of wickedness to this innocent and holy man who Herod even testified in the gospel of today that John is indeed a good and holy man.
The question I often ask any time I come across this gospel reading is “what would have Herod done if the young girl requested for his own head or the head of one of his guests? Would he have obliged this girl or granted the request since his own life or that of his guest is involved? I know that Herod would have said, young girl get out of my sight for you don’t know what you are asking! By then he would have not remembered that he took an oath before his guests.
It is because another person is involved that Herod allowed his selfishness and unhealthy ambition to becloud his sense of reasoning even to the extent of terminating life. Common sense would have told Herod that this request was made out of wickedness and malice coming from Herodias.
Sorry to say that we have so many Herods and Herodias in our families, in our various groups, in our places of work, in the market, in our various communities, in our institutions of higher learning, in various offices, among the leaders, even in the Church.
Those who have taken as profession the vow of terminating lives through gossips, character assassination, envy, jealous, backbiting and so on. Also this Herodic attitude is also found in our society today.
At times you see people passing judgement without mercy because another person is involved, you see people saying crucify him, kill him, do away with him/her because they are not involved but if they are involved or any of their close ones are involved, the story will change, you will hear: tamper justice with mercy, give him/her second chance and so on!
The reason Herod did not tamper justice with mercy or give John the Baptist a second chance to live is because Herod has no love for John. In a real sense of the word, there was no love because if there is, as Herod claimed in the gospel of today, he would have as well offered John the protection and saved his life because that was the time John needed his protection most from the hands of the wicked Herodias.
Dear brothers and sisters let us always pray and ask for the grace of God to allow this brotherly and sisterly love to dwell among us so as to destroy these Herodias and Herodic way of life ruling our society, families and our Churches, which can make people kill without qualms and without applying love, justice and mercy. It is only when real love is planted among us that our true Christian identity will shine out and speaks volume of the stuff we are made of.
Let Us Pray: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to love always and not be bitter. May I be ready to suffer and due for your sake. Amen.