Courage – Homily by Fr Emmanuel Unamba
The serenity prayer, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference, written by a theologian, summarises all the readings today. There are people that struggle to change things that are unchangeable. Others try to change the things they can. This happens because they do not know the difference.
We are in a world where people do not know what they are looking for. They try to change things they cannot change. There are those who cannot say no. They lack the courage and so settle for a mediocre life. In the first reading, Jeremiah was thrown into a well. He told the king and others not to fight but to submit. This is because they would be killed at the battle if they do not succumb. The people felt he was not patriotic and requested for his death. They went on to the battle, were defeated, and taken into captivity.
These days, we have people in authority who have people around them that say what they want to hear. An example is 1st kings Chapter 22 where Ahab wanted to go to war and was told by the false prophets that he would emerge victoriously. Micaiah, sent by the Lord, tried to dissuade him but was locked in prison. Ahab went into the war and was slain.
In the first reading, Ebed-melech, a court official, spoke with the king telling him to release Jeremiah, He was eventually released. This man had the courage to change what he could and his actions, therefore, saved Jeremiah. Sometimes we are comfortable with how bad things are and do not bother to change what can change. The Lord is saying change what you can change. Change your immoral life and the things happening within you so that God can change other things. We need to change our sinful lives. You cannot stop birds from flying over your head but you can stop them from building a nest on your head. You need to summon the courage to say no.
We must remember that Jesus did not fight to change what was written of Him but rather succumbed to it. He gave the command to go into the world and make disciples of it. You should have the courage to say to corruption, to immorality, to vices that keep you far from God. When you start having the courage to say no, people will come against you but you must continue on the righteous path. This is because a Christain is one that challenges the status quo. John the Baptist had the courage. We must all rise to the challenge as Christians. We need the wisdom of God to know what can be changed and what cannot. We pray for God’s wisdom.
Finally, The psalm says Lord, make haste to help us. It is an assurance that God will help us always. Let us, therefore, examine our consciences to know those areas where we have failed to act. May God God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference. Amen.