There are two homily notes here and a reflection on St. Lucy
Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai
Today’s gospel reading gives reason to overcome hash words. They said John had a demon because will not eat and drink. Jesus ate and drank they called him a drunk. In Catechism, this is Calumny, the deliberate twisting of fact in order to misrepresent the truth. Envy or jealousy is one of the major causes of calumny. Some persons just jealous your gifts and instead of encouraging and praising God by it; they rather begin to criticize and castigate you. Often times we are guilty of this. Let us ask for the grace to be humble and imitate virtue wherever it may be found. The example of St. Lucy a virgin and martyr is given to us today to imitate.
Fr. Evaristus Okeke
Rejection is not a sign of Failure
The gospel reading of today reveals one escapist route usually employed by those who do not want to positively respond to God’s invitation to repentance: fault finding. God’s invitation to embrace his life is always extended to us through his instruments/ministers. God has and will always raise up men to speak his mind to the people.
These men are not chosen on account of their perfection but on account of God’s choice. However important the way of life of the minister is, it does not constitute a justification for rejecting the gospel message when it does not tally according to our expectation. Repentance is not a consequence of self-satisfaction but a consequence of docility to God’s word. God’s word is meant to strike not pacify us. When we go about always complaining about the actions and inactions of God’s ministers, we end up giving ourselves excuses for not repenting.
Rendering complaint makes us forget all the good the minister has ever done only to focus on that which we think was not well done. In the case of John Baptist, he went about preaching the gospel courageously; yet, all that the people could do was to complain that he was always fasting. For this reason, they will reject the message he preaches. When Jesus came, they complained that he was eating and drinking and for that reason, he does not suit the image of the expected messiah they have conceived. Thus, they doubted his source and so could not accept his teaching.
Beloved, we all must struggle to avoid this pitfall. Unrepentance has no justification. On the other hand, we should not expect 100 percent acceptance from the people God inspires us to minister to in one way or the other. Rejection is not a sign of failure. People reject the gospel not because you have not presented it well but because they have understood it so well that they have realized that they are not yet ready to bear the consequences of living it out.
With this understanding, we do not get discouraged by rejection, rather we become more compassionate. When you are paid back evil for good, be more compassionate. It is compassion that will preserve the good in you from being corrupted by the evil around you. When we yield to the call of advent, we become compassionate; but when we reject the call, we end up complaining and finding faults. Fault finders are never good achievers. God Bless You!
St. Lucy’s Lesson of Light
Light is very important to us as humans. Light is a necessity as darkness sets in. As humans we count on and sometimes take for granted the physical light around us as well as the light within. That is, until we know darkness.
St. Lucy, whose feast day is celebrated on December 13, is known as the patron saint of blindness. Legend has it that St. Lucy was tortured by Diocletian because of her deep faith. Legend continues that her eyes were taken and concludes that God miraculously restored Lucy’s eyesight. The important message, as I “see” it, is the importance of light and living our faith openly and without fear.
The physical light around us, be it the lights we switch on when darkness comes or the beautiful sunrise and sunlight during the day, is very important. More important is the light of Christ, living within each of us.
Custom has it, especially in the Scandinavian countries, that girls process with candles on their heads to celebrate the Feast of St. Lucy. How wonderful it would be if we would always process forward with the light within our hearts and souls as baptized Christians.
It is said that our eyes are the windows into our souls. There is physical blindness, and there is also inner blindness. I often wonder how many opportunities I have missed or have been blind to when it comes to being an instrument of Christ’s light for others. In a world filled with the darkness of greed, selfishness, and individualism, light is needed, and we have been given the wonderful challenge to be that light for others. Stamping out the darkness that surrounds and envelops our world by courageously standing up for our faith would result in a world of brilliant Christ-light!
St. Lucy, your name means light. You lived your faith, knowing the importance of sharing the light of Christ with others, even when it meant persecution and hardship. Please help us to be light in darkness, to know we are called to carry the light of Christ to a world in need, to our families, our places of work and ministry, and our Church. Help us to see the many opportunities given us each day to be a light in darkness. Amen.