Bishop Banda’s Homily, Wednesday, 1st Week of Lent
Our call to listen this season helps us to appreciate the Word of God which brings home the need to prioritize God in our lives. Solomon was right when he said: “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 1:7, 9:10). Thus whoever listens and subscribes to the will of God averts disaster for himself, his people and his associates.
In our first reading, the people of Nineveh built a beautiful city for themselves and they believed that everything was safe and secure. However, they soon understood that all was not well. The prophet Jonah predicted a total destruction of the city of Nineveh within 40 days, unless they repented from their evil ways.
The people of Nineveh obliged. They repented and made amendments to their way of life. Their conversion was total, radical and intense. As a result they averted the predicted disaster – thus they were saved.
God communicates through extraordinary ways and means in our lives. He speaks through our circumstances of life like difficulties and suffering to attract our attention. God also speaks to us through other people. It may be in the form of affirmation, confirmation, encouragement, or even reproof or warning. Further, the Lord may use anyone He chooses to deliver His message even someone we may not like.
For the people of Nineveh, it was a foreign prophet Jonah who communicated with them the will of God and the need for conversion. Openness, availability and readiness to change are essential qualities of life and more so during the period of Lent. A heart that listens, a heart that is open, available and ready to change will avert disaster for itself, its loved ones and its associates. The old adage puts it: “Umweo waba mukutwi”.
During this period of Lent, let us deepen the art of listening and adhere to the call of repentance and conversion as a sign and hope for the conversion of the world. May our own personal conversion from sinfulness to holiness of life be an example to others that it is possible to tread a new path of life.