#DailyHomily: The Power of the Sacraments

Homily for January 13, 2018

“Then Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said, ‘Has not the LORD anointed you to be prince over his people Israel? And you shall reign over the people of the LORD and you will save them from the hand of their enemies round about.’” 1 Samuel 10:1 

Today’s first reading gives us the ancient origin of the sacraments. The moment Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it over the head of Saul, he instantly became the king of Israel. The pouring of the oil over Saul’s head was in itself a prayer and this type of prayer is called a sacrament.

A sacrament is something we see physically happening yet imparting a deep spiritual effect in our lives. It is an outward sign of inward grace and grace itself is an UNMERITED FAVOUR.  Baptism is a sacrament, it is a prayer in action, likewise Ordination is a sacrament that turns a man into a priest. By his anointing at ordination, the priest is bestowed with powers that makes him capable of standing in the place of Christ yet does not lose his humanity.

Oil is also used at Confirmation which turns a baptised Christian into a soldier of Christ. And at the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, oil is used to bring about healing as St. James himself wrote: “Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. ...” James 5, 14 to 15. 

It is not just the pouring of oil but the fact that God’s divine hand is upon it and upon the one performing the anointing. Note that it was God himself who said to Samuel, “Here is the man who shall rule over my people.” 1st Samuel 9, 17. No one can just wake up and start pouring oil on people anyhow.

In our Gospel passage, we see the touching story of the call of Levi, a tax collector by Jesus. Levi was not even a fan of Jesus, he was sitting in his tax office carrying out his duty when Jesus passed by and said: “follow me.”

Do you notice that like Saul in our first reading, Levi did not do anything that made him qualified to be called? Jesus must have seen so many other tax collectors, but it was Levi he chose. There were many tall and handsome young men in all of Israel, but God told Samuel to anoint Saul.

We do not merit our choice. We did not choose our parents, neither did we choose our date and place of birth. We do not merit our calling, so it is not a right; it is a privilege. It is not our qualification for anointing that matters, rather it is what we do with our anointing. While Levi became a great apostle eventually, Saul ruled Israel in a manner that God himself regretted choosing him as king.

At times, people wonder how God decides to call men and women for his work despite their human limitations. The mysterious thing about anointing is that it does not remove a person’s habit, thoughts, desires and sinful inclinations; it only give the person an opportunity to grow deeper in spirit, deeper in holiness, wiser in personality and closer to God. Anointing does not take away temptations, it only reminds us how we ought to struggle against sin. Anointing itself does not make us saints, rather it gives us ample opportunities for repentance.

We all were anointed on the day of our baptism, confirmation or Orders. Like Levi, we were chosen not because of any special quality we had but just because God wanted it. The question is: “How well are we making use of our anointing?”

Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, help me to live up to the demands of my anointing. Amen

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. (Saturday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1 Samuel 9:1-21,10:1 and Mark 2:13-17)

Fr. Abu.


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