Homily for Sunday, February 17, 2019
Homily for Sunday, February 17, was delivered at the 6 AM Mass at the Church of Assumption, Asokoro, Abuja by the Parish Priest, Reverend Father Peter Atsewe. He cantered his Homily on the belief and trust in God. This is captured in the first reading from Jerimiah 17: 5-8. Father Atsewe began with the analogy of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. He explained that when the Cardinal issues a command, priority is placed on it by the Priests of the Archdiocese to ensure that his command is carried out. He compared this to the beginning of the reading which says, ‘Thus says the Lord…’ He stated that whenever this is said, whatever follows this must be. This is because the word of the Lord is fruitful and powerful.
He went further to say, “CURSED is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the LORD.” He explained that although it is not sinful to trust people, it is sinful to trust IN people. He said that trusting in someone is similar to investing your hope in and relying totally on the person. This takes the space of God in the person.
He further explained that there are people who speak in the absolute. For example, politicians who after winning an election, will say with certainty that on a given date when they assume office, they WILL do this and that. He said that these people are not even certain if they will have life then. Adding that since everything is by the Grace of God, adding the words ‘Lord willing’ or ‘by God’s Grace’ would make one realise that he or she is at the mercy of God’s providence.
This point about trusting in God is also reflected in the second reading from 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20. He intertwined this with the first reading from Jerimiah verse 7 where it is written, ‘Blessed is the man who trusts IN the LORD, whose trust IS the LORD’. He explained that such a person will never be moved by troubles of the world even when they afflict him. He gave the example of Job who although lost everything, remained steadfast in the Lord and was rewarded abundantly. He advised that attraction to the world should not drag us to the things that we will regret later. This he explained from the Elementary Catechism of the Catholic Church where it is written that God made us to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him and be happy with him in this world and in the world to come.
The Gospel reading from Luke 6:17, 20-26, talks about the Beatitudes. Father Atsewe explained that although the Beatitudes say blessed are those who are poor because theirs is the kingdom of God, God does not delight in the poverty of his children. He does not take delight in His children living in dehumanising conditions and in slums unable to provide for themselves. This is not what God desires. Rather, the person who is poor in spirit is one who sees others as humans and who puts trusts in the Lord.
Father Atsewe said that the expression, ‘Woe to you who are rich’, is not a condemnation to the rich but rather a warning. He said that wealth often brings the feeling of abundance and there is the tendency to begin to think that one is self-sufficient. He explained Psalm 127 which says, ‘Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.’ He explained that our activities are useless without God in it.
Father Atsewe concluded by saying that whatever position we have attained in life, and whatever wealth and self-sufficiency we may have attained, these would not take any of us to Heaven. They also cannot give eternal life or things that give eternal life. Also, they cannot prevent us from the disasters of the world.