‘USHA ADE’: A HOMILY ON WEDNESDAY, 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR II, BY FR. HENRY NWOKORO, CSsR, REDEEMER HOUSE, IBADAN
This kind of pot is what Igala people call ‘Usha ade’. It usually stands on three legs and so many things have been said as to why it is important that it has three legs. Three is a very important number and there is a saying that whatever happens once will never happen again, but whatever happens twice will happen the third time. This is not to encourage some kind of superstition, but to say that three is a very important number. In Nigeria, when someone older or in position of authority want to say something very important to someone younger or a subordinate, they would, usually call the person three times, even when the person heard it the first two times. At the end, they would usually ask ‘How many times have I called you?’ and this kind of question does not require an answer. It is another way of saying ‘This is very important. So, listen, listen, and listen real good.’ Once a foolish boy was asked the same question and he responded by saying ‘Sorry, I was not counting’.
Little wonder, when Jesus wants to tell us something important, He says it three times or in three different ways. The gospels we are reading at this time is that of St. Luke, and right now, we are in chapter 12. The day before yesterday, we read from verse 13 to 21, where Jesus told the parable of the rich fool who was only concerned about worldly riches and forgot about eternal life. Yesterday, instead of beginning from verse 22, the Church gave us verse 36 to 38, where we are told to gird our loins and light our lamps, always ready for the return of the master. Today, we read from verse 39 to 48 and Jesus is telling us that He will come like a thief. The thief does not tell you when he will come to your house. He also tells us that he will come like a master who has entrusted his servants with certain duties and he expects to meet them on duty whenever he comes back. Today, therefore, is the third day of the same message, given in three different ways. If someone is telling you the same thing three days in a row, he is also making you know how important this call is. If you didnt hear it the first day, you should hear it the second day. If you didnt hear it the first two days, there is no way you will miss it on the third day. There is no better way of saying ‘this is very very very important.
At every mass we sing Holy, Holy, Holy… and one would wonder why do we have to say it three times. It is done with the idea that the holiness of God cannot be put into words. This is a way of expressing something that cannot be expressed accurately. This is why we often say, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’.
Our eternal salvation is very, very, very important and we should reflect daily on it. Jesus tells us the reward that awaits those who are faithful to this word as well as the punishment to those who are not faithful to it. Those who have heard it and pretend not to have heard it will suffer more punishment. Those who have not heard it at all will suffer less. St. Paul tells us in the first reading that pagans also share in the same inheritance given to us in Christ. If pagans can hear the good news and repent, then Christians should hear it even better.
Tomorrow, the Gospel will still be from Luke chapter 12, but on a different topic. A word is enough for the wise, two words for the not so wise, three words for the really stupid. After that, redemption becomes impossible.
I am Fr. Ifeanyichukwu Henry Nwokoro, CSsR. I am your fellow child of God and this is my way of sharing my daily reflections with you. Please feel free to leave a comment, suggestion or question. Let everything that lives and that breathes give praise to the Lord.
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