Bishop Banda’s Homily Friday, 3rd Week of Lent
Homilies, Friday, 3rd Week, Lent
1. Scribes and Lawyers are generally at variance with our Lord save for today’s gospel passage. Both are agreed on the two great commandments of the Law. The common denominator is the call to love. However, these commandments differ on the object of that love. The first commandment calls us to love God and the second to love our neighbour. Priority is given to God.
2. The two commandments also differ in the intensity of the love they command. It is only God who is to be loved with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength. It is only God who deserves all the love of our being. To love God in this way is to be engulfed in the love of God for humanity and that is where the second commandment comes in. Pure and total love of God always leads us to love of neighbour.
3. This is so wonderfully expressed in the sign of the cross. When we make the sign of the cross, we mark ourselves on the head to express our love for God with all our mind; on the chest to say that we love God with all our heart and soul. And when we mark our shoulders, it means to love God with all our strength, and that it must be shown to our neighbours, both on our left and our right.
4. So making the sign of the cross can have a deep and profound sign of our love for God and neighbour. It is that kind of love that prompted Ruth to say to Naomi “wherever you go, I will go, wherever you live, I will live. Your people shall be my people, and your God, shall be my God.” Hosea, summons up: “For the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them”.
5. In the “sign of the cross” is a sign of love. When we make it, we commit ourselves to loving God and our neighbor. May the sign of the cross we make several times a day become a reality in our lives. May it help us to build bridges of love and not walls of hatred. May it help us to conquer evil with good and not malice. May it help us to accept offence with forgiveness and not with revenge. May it help us to live in peace and harmony with everyone, regardless.
6. May the sign of the cross, the sign of our salvation indeed help us transcend our shortcomings, our failures and sins and so embrace the true love of God and neighbour!