Homily for January 22, 2018
“So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.” 2 Samuel 5:3.
In our first reading today, we read about how the elders of Israel as a whole came together and speaking with one voice elected that David should be their king. It was a unanimous decision.
Even though Samuel had previously anointed David when he was still a small shepherd boy, David would be anointed again ceremonially to make him officially assume the office of king.
Unity is vital for peace and progress. Whenever people are united, things actually move well because there is no suspicion of one another, unhealthy competition, backbiting and witch-hunting.
As we see in our Gospel passage, the scribes who came from Jerusalem filled with envy at Jesus for his ability to cast out demons cooked up a story that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebul.
In response, Jesus asked a fundamental question: “How can satan cast out satan?… If satan has risen against himself and is divided, he cannot stand.” In a similar way, when Christians are divided against themselves, they cannot stand.
In the face of the challenges facing Christians today, there is no better time for the message of unity to be preached loudly from the highest mountains. We cannot fight a common enemy unless we are united.
Today also, we celebrate the memorial of St. Vincent. He was born at Huesca, near Saragossa, Spain sometime during the latter part of the 3rd century. Vincent spent most of his life in the city of Saragossa, where he was educated and ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Valerius of Saragossa, who commissioned Vincent to preach throughout the diocese. Because Valerius suffered from a speech impediment, Vincent acted as his spokesman.
When the Roman Emperor Diocletian began persecuting Christians in Spain, both were brought before the Roman governor, Dacian in Valencia. Vincent and his bishop Valerius were confined to the prison of Valencia. Though he was finally offered release if he would consign Scripture to the fire, Vincent refused. Speaking on behalf of his bishop, he informed the judge that they were ready to suffer everything for their faith, and that they could pay no heed either to threats or promises.
His outspoken manner so angered the governor that Vincent was inflicted every sort of torture on him. He was stretched on the rack and his flesh torn with iron hooks. Then his wounds were rubbed with salt and he was burned alive upon a red-hot gridiron. Finally he was cast into prison and laid on a floor scattered with broken pottery, where he died. During his martyrdom he preserved such peace and tranquillity that it astonished his jailer, who repented from his sins and was converted. Vincent’s dead body was thrown into the sea in a sack, but was later recovered by the Christians and his veneration immediately spread throughout the Church.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, may I be an agent of unity and peace this new week. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you.
(Monday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 2nd Samuel 5:1-10 and Mark 3:22-30).