Homily For The 4th Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year B

Pay Attention To Christ And His Authentic Prophets

Rdgs: (1st: Deut 18, 15-20; Ps 94, 1-9; 2nd: 1Cor 7, 32-35: Gos: Mk 1, 21-28)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

On this 4th Sunday of ordinary time, the church continues to encourage us to listen attentively to Christ. He is our teacher who speaks with authority. Also, she reminds us of the consequences of speaking falsely in the Lord’s name.

Our first reading from Deuteronomy is one of those passages in the bible referred to as the messianic prophesies. Through this prophecy from Moses, God promised us the messiah. This promise was fulfilled in Christ. On his own part, Christ called authentic ministers to be his prophet. So, we need to pay attention to these authentic prophets. Hence: “Those who will not listen to the words of the prophet…shall be answerable to me for it.”

Unfortunately, today there are many who claim to be God’s prophets. God knew this beforehand that such false prophets will arise. So, He was clear about their fate: “Those who presume to say in my name what I have not commanded them to say, shall die”

The question is, how do we know and distinguish false prophets? Matthew gives us a clue: “Beware of false prophets…You will know them by their fruits” (7: 15-20). So, this calls for vigilance, discernment and paying attention the church.

Today’s second reading is very important in this regard. Paul gave a wonderful counsel about celibacy and marriage. However, at the beginning of this counsel, Paul was wise to add: “Now concerning the unmarried, I do not have command from the Lord (I Cor 7: 25).After this, he proceeded to give his wise opinion.

Although, Paul was a prophet, he knew the consequence of saying “thus says the Lord”, when the Lord did not command him to speak. He simply gave his opinions which was a wise thing to do. He did not have to be false by saying, that God commanded him to speak. Neither, did he need to deceive anyone to make his point. Yet, his points were clear.

In today’s gospel, Jesus was passionate to his people. He never deceived them or made false claims. Rather, in contrast to the scribes and Pharisees, He taught with authority. This was not based on worldly credentials, or his ability to cite precedents. His only credential was that he is the Son of God. His authority came from his father. Hence, a true prophet should rely principally on God.

Therefore, it is important that we discern every prophecy and evaluate them based on the word of God in the scriptures. Whatever is against the plain sense of the scripture, or any prophesy that promotes unhealthy life style and shallow spirituality, obviously cannot be from God.

Unfortunately, even an authentic prophet can also err. Surely, he can, when a he loses focus, and becomes very proud. When he stops listing to Christ, he begins to listen to himself. Then, in order to make up for his emptiness, he gives his own word in God’s name.

Let us continue to listen to Jesus and, pay attention only to his authentic prophets who speak for God. “O that today you listen to his voice, harden not your hearts.”

Peace be with You!


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