Monday, 18 June 2018 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Scripture passages, beginning with the story of king Ahab and Naboth, as told from the Book of Kings. King Ahab was the king of Israel, who did not follow the way of the Lord, and instead, worshipped pagan idols and committed all sorts of sins and wickedness before God and man alike.

In the story today, Naboth was a vineyard owner, whose land was pleasing to the king of Israel. Ahab tried to persuade Naboth to sell him the vineyard so that he might be able to use the vineyard for his own purposes. But Naboth refused to do so, because the vineyard belonged to his ancestral land, and Naboth would not want to sell what his ancestors had passed down to him as inheritance.

The king was angry and felt dejected after his desire was not fulfilled. But his wife, Jezebel, made use of the opportunity to goad Ahab and persuade him to attain the vineyard even using wicked and underhanded means. As we have heard from the Book of Kings, false witnesses were set up, and they accused Naboth wrongly of blasphemy against God, and he was stoned to death.

King Ahab seized the vineyard for his own and later on, he was severely chastised by the prophet Elijah for this sinful action. Ahab was hurt by Naboth’s refusal to accede to his desire, and he was determined, under the influence of his wife, to inflict pain and vengeance against him. But as we can see, it caused him to fall further into sin and away from God’s grace.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is what we mankind often like to do, to keep grudges, to be filled with anger, hatred and vengeance. That is because first and foremost, we have too much pride in us, so much so that we could not admit that we have erred or made a mistake. We are filled with greed and desire, again because of our pride, that led us to sin further against God.

That is why we sin, because we put our selfishness and ego ahead of everything else, and we place ourselves as the most important of all things in this world. And when we are given power, we do not know how to make use of it responsibly, and it corrupts us, just as it corrupted king Ahab. But today’s Scripture passage reminds us that as Christians, we must not let this happen to us.

Instead, the Lord has taught us that, for those who follow Him and become His disciples, whoever is greater and more powerful must become the servants of those who are weaker and placed under the authority and responsibility of those more powerful. And He Himself showed the example, when He, at the Last Supper, took His outer garments off and wore the garment of a slave, and washed the feet of His disciples.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to follow the example of Our Lord? Are we able to throw away our ego, pride, greed and desire, all the things that keep us away from truly being able to follow God. If we are so full of ourselves, how can we put God at the centre of our lives? And that is why we lack faith, because we have not been humble enough to acknowledge that we need God in our lives.

And as long as we continue to cause hurt to others, or step on them on our path to attain good things for ourselves and satisfy our wishes, we cannot be true Christians. Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we make a difference in our lives from now on, by turning to God with all of our hearts? Let us all not seek worldly glory and desires, all of which cannot truly satisfy us.

May the Lord be our guide, and may He continue to watch over us day after day, that we will not succumb to the temptations of power, wealth, glory, fame and all sorts of things that keep us away from God and His path. Let us all turn wholeheartedly towards Him, and devote ourselves from now on, as true and devout Christians. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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