Healing Through Obedience – Homily by Revd. Valentine Ibe Nzekah
Today is Laetare Sunday, which means rejoice sunday. On this day, we are called to rejoice, for our consolation is near. We also rejoice because the grace and mercy has led us through over a half of our 40-day period of Lenten fast. This is usually the Sunday that follows the 20th day of lent and normally falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent.
One may ask, “what reason is there to rejoice?” This question can be justified on different fronts. How can we rejoice when the world is plagued by a deadly epidemic which is obviously no respecter of age or status? How can we rejoice when our society is plagued by wanton destruction of lives and property? When our Nation is under siege by armed bandits who seem to be faceless. How can we rejoice when access to basic social amenities has become a herculean venture, it is clear that among the many threats to lives in Nigeria, bad roads, bad healthcare, bad governance stand atop.
But yes, we do have reasons to rejoice. The world has not crushed us yet. Moreover, the cause of our joy is not material, our joy is not born through the material, rather, the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). We have reasons to rejoice because although God suffered a worse fate than we now suffer, indeed he died for our sake, but He rose again and He set us free from the deadliest of all diseases – sin and death. This is the mystery we celebrate at Easter and this mystery is closer to us today than it was in the past. The world may have disappointed us but the word of God prepared us for it. Psalm 146:3 says, put no trust in princes, in mortal men, they cannot save.
Today, therefore, is a day to trust Christ and be happy in Him through obedience to his words. Thankfully, in our gospel reading today, we see the fruit of trust and obedience. Jesus said to the Man born blind, “go and wash in the pool of Siloam”, so he went and washed and came back with his sight restored. Also, imagine that Samuel had not obeyed the voice of the Lord, he would have chosen a rejected king for Israel in the person of Eliab. This would have been a great disaster.
Trust and obedience thus, become vital tools for peace and progress. Both religious and civil obedience are signs of faith in God. It is true that obedience often comes with a great burden, sometimes even at the cost of life, however, God who allows them, has a mission always. We find consolation in the fact that though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not count equality with God but humbled himself and became obedient unto death, indeed death on a cross. (Phil 2:6-11).
We must then listen and obey the commandments of God, of the Church and of the state.
Civil obedience is even all the more emphasized in these perilous times of Covid-19 epidemic. This is the time in which we are called to obey the civil authorities by not panicking, but by adhering to all precautionary measures as recommended.
Good thing enough, the second reading urges us to be awake, in other words, we must be alert and conscious while relying on the light of Christ to lead us out of this darkness. In these dark times, we are called to live as children of light. We do this by being relentless in prayers, by being charitable to neighbour through self-quarantine once symptoms of the sickness are suspected, by being kind and gentle towards the sick. By being generous and sensitive to the needs of others, by maintaining qualitative hygiene and by following all other recommendations of both Church and state for this period.
May the light of Christ shine on this situation as we wait in joyful hope for his glorious coming for our salvation. Amen.