CATHOLIC HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK OF LENT
THEME: STONING THE TRUTH!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: * Jer 20 : 10 – 13, Jn 10 : 31 – 42.
Attempt at stoning the truth did not start today and will not end today. Attempt at killing the prophets is a historical constant because prophets are harbingers of the truth. Wherever they are; there is always a centripetal force of opposition ganging up against them consciously and unconsciously. Truth has many enemies; ignorance, corruption, wickedness, selfishness, pride, jealousy, etc. But these enemies can never overcome it. I guess it was the great Winston Churchill of Britain who said that ‘Truth is incontrovertible; ignorance may hate it; enmity may deride it; wickedness may suppress it; pride may oppose it but there it ever lies’.
The experience of Jeremiah in today’s 1st reading, accentuated by that of Jesus in today’s gospel are common to every Prophet especially when the weapons of diplomacy and euphemism give way to the release of raw truths by these men of God. Diplomacy and homiletic prudence helps repackage the truth for its recipients in a more palatable language but sometimes they end up derobing the truth of its linguistic armament. For instance, when Jesus began to speak less in parables and anecdotes and came down to the raw facts about his divinity and spirituality, the Jews resorted to picking up stones. He emphatically told them the truth that he was Son of God and the Messiah and posited his miraculous works as evidence. The end was of course near!
Prophetism is a delicate ministry that doesn’t go down well with our humanism.
That is why so many ‘powerful men of God’ in Nigeria today that have dared to claim to be the voice of God in recent pasts have not found it funny toeing the path of consistency. Some are now forced to go dumb and silent because we are at the incubation period when the validity of their prophesy are gradually being censored by the masses. Usually people do not waste time to pick up stones as soon as they are disenchanted with any false claims heretofore. Prophets of God (especially Priests) must therefore be ever careful to remain what they claim to be. According to William Barclay, ‘prophets are men who have the truth of God on their lips, the wisdom of God on their minds and the courage of God in their hearts’. But because they are still human beings, they must be careful to checkmate all forms of technical ignorance, temperamental excesses, secularism, politicization, and all forms of human emotional interpolations into their messages. The fact is that God defends us as long as we speak for him but as soon as you begin to speak for yourself, you are on your own. And when people pick up stones against you, you may not escape from their hands as Jesus did. And even when you do, Calvary still awaits you as it did Jesus.
May God bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO