Bishop Banda’s Homily,Tuesday, 2nd Week of Lent

Our readings today call for a self-introspection of life especially in the promotion of charity and in the cultivation of integrity. There ought to be a fitting unanimity of living in our lives. Our thoughts should suit our actions. Our desires should correspond to our forms of nobility.

It follows therefore that a harmonious way of life should reach out to others regardlessof class, gender and affiliation save for the poor and the needy – within and beyond. To neglect the poor while spreading out our hands in prayer draws a rebuke from God, who says: “I will close my eyes to you … I will not listen.” (The poor here includes not only those who are economically deprived but also people that are morally bankrupt, those that do not know God). To that effect God declares to us who seem to be indifferent to the poor in this regard as making: “Our hands … full of blood!”

Listening to the Word at face value sounds severe but its significance and worth is in the mercy, compassion and forgiveness of God. God promises to clean up even the dirtiest sin and to make us as pure as snow. He is ready to change even our cruelest deeds, making them as soft as wool. It is in the same vein that the Prophet Isaiah does not mince his words – but urges us to cleanse ourselves from all evil, to learn to do good, to seek justice and to stop oppression.

There is a tendency in each and every one of us to crave for recognition and status. Equally, the tendency to be self-righteous and even impose ourselves especially onto the seemingly weak ones who don’t share our worldview. Hence the infamous (PhD) pull him down. This is what Jesus criticizes in the gospel. On the contrary, Jesus who was Master humbled Himself in service even suffering a shameful death of the cross.

Our Lord invites us to His servant leadership. Let us be servants to each other in love and humility. Our intelligence, ideas and exposure are supposed to enhance our lives and to guide us into the right path of service. Unfortunately, these gifts become a hindrance and a barrier to serve one another.

May our enlightenment open our eyes to see beyond the unholy trinity of “I”, “Me” and “Myself” and to instill in us a heart that serves God and neighbour in love and humility.

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