TUESDAY OF THE 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR II

KUTASHI! KUTASHI!! LOKACI YAYI!!!: A HOMILY ON TUESDAY, 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR II, BY FR. IFEANYICHUKWU NWOKORO, CSsR, IBADAN

Kutashi is a Hausa imperative which says ‘Wake up!’, and ‘Lokaci yayi’ simply means ‘its time’. This expression is from an old song which I can no longer get the right words but I still have the tone in my head. This song came to my mind when I was reflecting on the readings of today. There are at least three dangers we face when we are sleeping, namely: we forget, we are defenseless and we cannot see.

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REMEMBER

In the first reading, St. Paul invites us not to become forgetful. A person who is asleep forgets everything and stops thinking. In a sleeping state, thoughts of the past, present or future are gone. It is as if we enter into oblivion. The best we could do is to dream and dreams are sometimes far from reality. Have you ever dreamt of being given a big award only to wake up and realise it was only a dream? How did you feel? If the dream is bad, then we are more than happy to know it was just a dream. St. Paul invites us not to forget that there was a time when we did not have Christ in our lives, namely before baptism. He invites us not to forget that there was a time when we had no hope, namely, the time we lived without God. Now that we have Jesus in our lives, let us not forget to remain firm. Let us not take things for granted. When we do this, we start falling asleep and the devil will steal the great gift we received at baptism. So, Kutshi!!!

DO NOT LOOSE YOUR DEFENSE

When sleep wipes our memory and thoughts and we can only dream, we become defenseless. When some people are sleeping, you can carry them and travel a long distance with them and they will not know a thing. This is most common with people who drink a lot of alcohol. This kind of thing can happen to us spiritually. Jesus invites us to be dressed for action. Normally when we are sleeping, we take off our clothes and dress in pyjamas. Girding our loins is like using our modern day belts. Jesus is saying ‘put on your belt’. The use of a belt is a sign of readiness for action. In Nigeria, when two women are about to fight, the first thing they do is to strengthen the grip of their wrappers. Part of the vestments worn by the catholic priests for mass is a cincture, which is a symbol of readiness for action. Life can be tough sometimes and we cannot live it on ‘sagging’ jeans. Those who ‘sagg’ their trousers do not realise that life is a battle field and you cannot fight dressed in a ‘sagging’ fashion. Kutashi!!! and put on your belt. Otherwise, the devil will take advantage of you.

OPEN YOUR EYES

A person who is sleeping cannot see a thing. I had a friend whose eyes stayed open while he sleeps. But even with open eyes, he cannot see a thing as long as he is sleeping. During the mass the priest would always say ‘Behold the Lamb of God…’. Our problems can make us blind to so many things, especially to the fact that Jesus is alive and He is with us. Open your eyes and see Jesus with you. Jesus invites us to have our lamps lit. Sometimes our eyes may be open but it is too dark to see a thing. Let the light of Christ shine upon us so that we can see.

Let us be like servants who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast. While He is away, we can get lazy. We can suffer spiritual acedia. God is doing everything to keep us awake. We cannot afford to sleep. If we sleep, we cannot see a thing, except the things we see in dreams. We cannot think either of the past, present or future and we become completely defenseless. The devil can mess us up in this state. The best way to stay awake is by participating in the sacraments, especially the mass and confession, by being faithful to our prayer lives, by caring for others, and by detatching ourselves from the things of this world.

When we were children, we would behave ourselves when our parent were around, but as soon as they go away, especially my father, who was the chief disciplinarian, we would start doing all the naughty things his presence prevented us from doing. As soon as we notice any sing of him coming back, we quickly start pretending we had been responsible the whole time. There had been times when we did not get any warning signs and he surprised us, and your guess is as good as mine as to what happened next.

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