Homily – 23 February 2020 (7th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A)

Let me tell you a story. One day, an old man saw a scorpion floating helplessly on the strong current of the river. The scorpion was caught in the tree’s long roots that extended into the river bed. The more it struggled to free itself, the more entangled it had become in the inter-twined roots. The old man reached out to free the captived animal and as soon as he touched it, the scorpion lifted its tail and stung him wildly. But the old man reached out again to free it.

A young man was passing by and saw what was happening. He said to the old man: “Uncle, what’s wrong with you? You must be mad! Why bother risking your life to save such wicked creature?”

That old man said: “My friend,” he said, “because it is the nature of the scorpion to sting, why should I give up my own nature to save?”

This story reminds us: do we take our cue for actions from the treatment we received from others, or do we continue in the way of graciousness even when we get “stung” ourselves? We have a nature to save and love others.

Just like the darkness at night, “Darkness can only be scattered by light, hatred can only be conquered by love.” If we conquered hatred by hatred, what would happen? People always try to take revenge. “Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.” Hatred cannot cut off the circle of revenge, but love can make it.

But “all the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”  – St. Francis of Assisi.  We need more candles to be lighted. We need more people to dispel the darkness of life by loving others.

In fact it is easier to hate those we love than love those whom we have hated. When we love others, we must take a risk – being hurt by someone who do we loved.

God is good to the unjust as well as the just. His love embraces saint and sinner alike. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45).

He seeks our highest good and teaches us to seek the greatest good of others, even those who hate and abuse us. He does not withhold the sun and the rain from those who oppose him; likewise, we must not withhold his love from those who oppose him.

‘The future is in your hearts and in your hands. God is entrusting to you the task, at once difficult and uplifting, of working with Him in the building of the civilization of love.’ – John Paul II.


Dear brothers and sisters,

In Jesus’ teaching on the law, he does something quite remarkable and unheard of. He transforms the old law of justice and mercy with grace and loving-kindness.

Jesus also makes clear that there is no room for retaliation. We must not only avoid returning evil for evil, we must also seek the good of those who wish us hurt.

He demands of his followers a more perfect, a more sincere fulfillment of them. Avoiding murder therefore is not enough; the true Christians must remove any inclinations to murder any build-up of true, brotherly love for all men in the heart.

Jesus encourage us to have supreme value of virtue in what we speak and deed. Love is the way to holiness.  So “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2).

Fr Rusdi