Homily, Thursday after Epiphany, January 6 2022.

1 John 4:19—5:4
Psalm 72:1—2, 15cd,17(R.11)
Luke 4:14—22a

A religious fellow asked his very religiously brother whether he loves God. His very religious brother got infuriated and couldn’t imagine how his fellow religious could ask him such question.

He(the infuriated) asked his brother what they have been doing all these while in their prayers, religious devotions, and mass attendances?

His brother was silent.

At another time, they came across a group of people trying to stone another someone. At close range, they discovered that the matter constituted their neighbor who owns a particular property.

Both religious brothers knew the owner because they were both present when the property was acquired legally.

However, the rightful owner was poor and the opponent was rich, and people feared him much.

One of the religious brothers who got infuriated at the question, “Do you love God”, suggested that they should mind their business instead of bearing witness to the truth.

His fellow brother went ahead and bore witness to the truth and saved their poor neighbor and his property, while the very religious went away to avoid trouble, and for him, “he better pray for the neighbor than say the truth and be in trouble.”

Later, the document of the property was produced and the court settled the matter in favor of the poor neighbor.

At night, the infuriated religious neighbor was visited by Jesus in his dream. Jesus asked him, “do you love me? He was taken aback having remembered all his religious devotions and prayers.

He answered Jesus, “You know I love.”

Jesus reminded him of the incident whereby he refused to say the truth.

To know one who loves God is to see the one who loves his neighbor, Jesus told him.

The words of John in the first reading 1 John 4:19—5:4, remains very true and strong.

On Sundays, we see many people in the Church and they all will vow that they love God but what happens later in and after the Church ceremonies? We go on hating our brothers and sisters that sometimes we plan evil within and during the mass against our brothers.

A spirituality that accommodated hatred, runs from the truth of another is inauthentic and falls short of divine standard. True love finds expression in our disposition towards others.

This is evident in the Gospel Luke 4:14—22a, in the Jesus’ messianic ministry and mission statement(the spirit of the lord is upon me….) as he brought hope, restoration, freedom and joy to others. What about us?

Whatever we do in this world especially towards others, testifies to whether we love God or not.

Be reminded that if you don’t love your brother or sister whom you see, you can’t love God whom you haven’t seen.

©Fr. Henry Charles Umelechi

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