Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Agatha, V.M., (05th February, 2021) on the Gospel and the Memorial

(Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time (I))


Heb 13:1-8;

Ps 26: (R. v.1);

Mk 6:14-29.

Saint Agatha (231 AD – c. 251 AD) was born at Catania or Palermo, Sicily. She dedicated her life to God at a tender age and resisted men who either wanted to marry her or to have sex with her. Quintian thinking he could bend her had her arrested and brought before the judge. She suffered assault and humiliation for one month in a brothel and later to prison. Agatha was tortured in various ways and refused medical care. She died in the hands of torturers[1].

Saint Agatha is the patron saint of Catania, Molise, Malta, San Marino and Zamarramala. She is also the patron saint of breast cancer patients, martyrs, wet nurses, bell-founders, bakers, fire, earthquakes, and eruptions of Mount Etna[2].

Topic: You can always recant.

Herod heard about Jesus and thought that John the Baptist has been raised. He arrested, bound, and put John in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he married because John told him repeatedly, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife’. Although Herodias wanted to kill John but Herod protected him for he feared him. Herod liked listening to him despite the fact that his words did perplex him greatly. However, on Herod’s birthday, Herod made a stupid promise publicly to Herodias’ daughter who entertained him and his guests to give her whatever she asked for. Through the instigation of her mother she requested for and got John’s head.

Have you ever thought of what would have been Herod’s decision if Herodias’ daughter had requested for his own head because he did not exclude it, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you...”? Your speculation is as good as mine.

There is an Igbo adage, okenye anaghị agbụpụchaa racharakwa meaning that a man ought to stand by his words. However, this stands when the words are not uttered in error because a fool is better than a man who is hasty in his words, cf. Prov 29:20.

It is only God who does not call back His words, (cf. Is 31:2) because He is a perfect God, cf. Matt 5:48; Deut 32:4; Job 37:16; 2Chro 19:7; Ps 18:30; 92:15. Herod never thought the girl would ask for such. Hence he was deeply grieved. But the big question is ‘why did he proceed to give order?’ He played God; he cannot go back on his words. Wise people are ever ready to recant as soon as they discover that they are in error. There is need to be steadfastness in what is right. Be humble enough to admit mistakes and to amend.

Bible Reading: Ps 90:1-17.

Thought for today: Do not remain in your mistake/s.

Let us pray: Lord, help us to stand by you always and be ever ready to amend our ways whenever we transgressed – Amen.

Saint Agatha – Pray for us.

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