CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 14TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: THE WISE SHEEP METAPHOR : CHALLENGES OF MISSIO AD GENTES!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: *Hos 14 :1-9, Matt 10 :16 – 23.
‘Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves ; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves’. The challenge placed in today’s gospel is the challenge of preaching the gospel among unbelievers ; evil and violent people, cult men, muslim fanatics, etc. It is the proper challenge of ‘missio ad gentes’. Simplicity /Innocence must be perfectly blended with wisdom /diplomatic tact.
Christ promised divine inspiration during the crises time that must ensue and divine protection. There is going to be ‘In – house betrayal’ – ‘brother will deliver up brother to death’ and persecution from without (infidels). Only two things will save us : ‘In – house renewal’ and tactical defense. Let me explain.
In this era of Nigerian history of false federalism ; when our economic resources are being systematically siphoned towards the North while the Southern areas are gradually rendered incapable of even being able to feed themselves through farming after all the ‘oil pollution’ and ‘cow destruction ‘of the environment ; in this era of being surrounded by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in all our bushes loaded with dangerous weapons while we continue to sleep and pray ; should we continue to use only rosary as our weapon of self defense? We can’t even be allowed to do a peaceful demonstration in a so called democratic State? Can’t our MODs be converted into more organized vigilantes?
Even from within, when our masquerades disturb our Christians from going for their normal Christian activities, how do we react to the situation? Should we leave the Christian activity? Go to be killed by the armed masquerades? Or keep praying? I am just asking? What will a flock of sheep – meek, weak and helpless, do in the midst of ravenous wolves?
- Permit me to tell this jocular story of a serpent that learnt the discipline of non violence from his spiritual master. It did not take long before the villagers discovered that the snake had become harmless. They took to hurling stones at it and dragging it about by its tail. The badly wounded snake crawled back to its master and complained. The master replied : ‘I told you to stop hurting but not to stop hissing’. Mhhh! I think the metaphor here is that of a ‘wise sheep’ and ‘hissing serpent’ not the opposite. So, onye obula chaa anya o! Christians, being innocent must protect themselves with wisdom (political, economic and security). When we, in Nigeria, have neither the wisdom nor the innocence, we are very likely to go the way of Turkey (Old Constantinople). But God forbid! We need to wisen up more and cleansen up more!
May God bless you today!
-Fr. Ben Agbo