Be Holy Like the Father – Homily by Revd. Valentine Ibe Nzekah
Before Civilization taught us to allow children to make choices for themselves, it was ideal for every father to train his son to take over his trade or craft. So it is often said, “like father like son”. Even now, every father who is successful wants his children to be as successful as he is or even more. God, being Holy, also wants us to be Holy just like he is.
God created us in His own image and likeness, free from suffering, being set apart (holy) from every other creature and made to resemble Him. So we can begin to understand why God wants us to be Holy like he is. If He created us just like Him, He wants us to be like Him, in fact, we belong to Him. In the second reading, St. Paul tells us that we belong to Christ and Christ to God. So we have our end in God. For this reason, St. Paul also says that God’s Spirit dwells in us. We are his temples, his dwelling place. The second reading thus admonishes us against destroying God’s Temple.
How then do we keep this Temple Holy?
Again Jesus teaches us what to do. Go the extra mile in showing love. He tells us in the Gospel reading to not just love our neighbours but our enemies as well and pray for those who persecute us. Jesus says, do not resist one who is evil, turn the other cheek, let your accusers have your coat as well as your cloak, give to those who beg from you and lend those who ask you. This invitation is however not a call to be stupid. The second reading clarifies, “the wisdom of this world is folly with God,…He catches the wise in their craftiness.” God wants us to avoid craftiness which is evil and embrace sincerity which is a mark of goodness. Let what you say be simply Yes or No, anything more than this is from the evil one. (Matt. 5;37).
What we need to do, therefore, is love genuinely. The first reading says, ‘you shall not hate your brother in your heart, you shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge’. This same attitude is re-echoed in the gospel. The gospel tells us that when we obey such injunctions, we shall become children of God. Being His children, therefore, we are drawn closer to resemble Him in Holiness and perfection.
While this task may be difficult because of our human limitedness, the psalmist consoles us. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in mercy, He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults. So, our sins should not discourage us, we should rather look to the Mercy of God to put us right back on track. This mercy never runs dry. As we approach the season of lent, let us call to mind our limitations to holiness and through the period of lent, make firm resolve to conquer them through Christ who strengthens us.
Click to read – Let Your Holiness Surpass that of The Scribes and Pharisees By Fr Osita Eze