#DailyHomily: Stop Trying to Be Like Others: Be Content as You Pray

Homily for January 12, 2018

“But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; and they said, ‘No! But we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.’” 1 Samuel 8:19-20.

Today we read about how all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel to request that he should appoint a king to govern the nation of Israel. But then, beneath their innocent prayer for a king was a REJECTION OF GOD, an inferiority complex and a desire to JUST BE LIKE OTHERS.

As much as we are free to ask for anything in prayer, we must carefully examine our hearts before we pray; we must be sure that our prayers are not motivated by envy of our neighbours; the desire to outshine others or purely materialistic pursuits.

Dear friend, we can’t run away from the fact that some prayers are actually offensive to God. The Israelites did not have a king, God himself was the king, so by asking for a king, they were saying they no longer had any confidence in God; they were asking for a replacement of God in their lives.

Just like the Israelites, God wants to be our king; he wants to be at the centre of our lives, so he never gives us everything we want lest we stop worshiping him. If we really examine our prayers very well, we would admit that often we are asking for gods; earthly things; material things that are capable of making us forget God. It is like saying: “God I really do not need you, just give me those things I worship; too much money, fame, pleasure, power etc.”

Have you noticed how some persons become blessed, so blessed that they stop going to church, they even stop praying as they used to, and they begin to ask: “what do I even need God for?” If God was to answer all your prayers today, would you still need God? Who knows, maybe that is why God is yet to answer them. Maybe, we should change the content of our prayers and stop offending God by asking for things to replace him in our lives.

In our Gospel passage, Jesus was obviously pleased with the four men who brought their friend to him through the roof of the house where he was ministering to the people.

One, action of these men shows how we must care for our friends; carry your friends to God in prayer; don’t be selfish with your prayer; don’t pray to be better than your friends, instead, pray for others to be better than you.

Two, pray with faith. By opening the roof, they showed Jesus that they had full confidence in his power to heal the paralytic. Jesus saw their faith. Is my faith visible to God?

Thirdly, from the way Jesus attended to the paralytic, it shows that when we pray, the first thing we should do is examination of conscience and plead for forgiveness of sins. As soon as Jesus the paralytic, he said: “My son, your sins are forgiven.” It was necessary for this man’s sins to be forgiven first, his spiritual paralysis was more important than his physical paralysis.

No wonder the Holy Mass is structured in a way that at the beginning of mass, we are given an opportunity to examine our conscience and ask for God’s mercy. Sin is an obstacle; its only reward is death. We would not be fair to God if we only ask him for this, this and that without first begging forgiveness of our trespasses.

Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, may my prayers be pleasing to you always. Amen

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. (Friday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1 Samuel 8:4-22 and Mark 2:1-12).

Fr. Abu.


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